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Schools That Offer a Master's Program in Holistic Nutrition

by Sharon H. Bolling , studioD

Earning a master's degree in holistic nutrition opens the door for career opportunities as a health consultant, nutrition practitioner or as a researcher for health food, herbal or vitamin companies. According to the National Association for Nutrition Professionals, holistic nutritionists not only help people learn how to eat healthier, but can also develop specific treatment plans that offer an alternative to modern medicine. You can find a school with in-depth course offerings and practical training while staying within your budget and geographical limitations.

National Association of Nutrition Professionals-Approved Schools

Finding the right degree program is not a simple task. Course offerings, quality instruction and hands-on training are important to consider when selecting schools to which you will apply. The National Association of Nutrition Professionals has reviewed and approved the master's programs at Hawthorn University, Huntington College of Health Sciences, American College of Healthcare Sciences, John F. Kennedy University, Nutrition Therapy Institute, Maryland University of Integrative Health and the University of Bridgeport as meeting its educational standards. Many of these colleges offer online courses, making them widely available regardless of your location.

Program Expectations

Intensive nutrition education, developing an understanding of the biological and physiological bodily processes, and learning how food, vitamins and minerals play a vital role in maintaining a healthy body are key aspects of a holistic nutrition program. The American College of Healthcare Sciences places an emphasis on learning to create protocol that allows nutrition to integrate with conventional medicine. Students at the Nutrition Therapy Institute can take courses on digestion and detoxification, reproductive health and food politics as electives. Regardless of the school, choosing a program approved by the NANP will provide a broad study of holistic nutrition.

Applying What You've Learned

In most master's in holistic nutrition programs, students complete an internship, thesis project, clinical or practicum. The Nutrition Therapy Institute requires a 50-hour internship in which students donate their time as a nutrition consultant to schools, community organizations or businesses in order to gain experience applying their training in workplace settings. At the Maryland University of Integrative Health, students complete a clinical and practicum in order to gain hands-on practice and field experience. Hawthorn University's program culminates with a thesis research project where students write a minimum of 30 pages and give a 30-minute presentation on their topic.

Holistic Nutrition Credentialing Board Certification

While most states do not require certification to practice holistic nutrition, the NANP founded the Holistic Nutrition Credentialing Board in 2003 to promote a nationally recognized, credible body of holistic nutrition practitioners. While adhering to state laws, board-certified practitioners can provide nutritional assessments and evaluations, design client-specific treatment plans, and offer step-by-step guidance and nutrition education. Practitioners who have completed an approved educational program, are professional members of the NANP and can provide documentation of 500 hours of experience in holistic nutrition are eligible to sit for the exam. There's an exception for new graduates, who can take the exam within 12 months of completing their program without having the 500-hour requirement.

About the Author

Sharon Bolling holds a master's in counseling and human development with a concentration in school counseling from Radford University. She is an experienced instructor of both high school and college students. She has been writing for Demand Media online since April 2013.

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