Wholistic Nutrition: Industry and Program Frequently Asked Questions

We thought we’d provide a snapshot of some of the most common questions and answers we get about the wholistic nutrition industry and our program specifically. We hope you find it helpful!

Q: What exactly is a Wholistic Nutritionist?

A: One who understands and educates others on foods as a whole, foods sources, one’s relationship to food, what foods best serve individual needs, etc. It is an approach to nutrition that values whole foods over supplementation.

Q: Is a Wholistic Nutritionist the same as a Dietician?

A: No. A Traditional (Western) Dietician applies principles derived from the sciences of nutrition, biochemistry, food physiology, management, and behavioral and social sciences to achieve and maintain human health through the provision of medical nutrition services and the development of therapeutic nutrition care plans to assist in the maintenance of health and the prevention and treatment of disorders of body functions, systems or organs. (Source: Idaho Dietetic Licensing Board)

Q: Are the job opportunities the same for both?

A: No. For the Clinical Registered Dietician (CRD), most jobs are in hospitals, nursing care facilities, outpatient care centers, and offices of physicians or other health practitioners. For the Certified (W)holistic Nutritionist opportunities are within other holistic healthcare practices, as a standalone practice or other private community based areas.

Q: What are the licensing requirements for a Wholistic Nutritionist?

A: State laws vary on the use of nutritionist in titles as well as licensing, so you’d need to check with your individual state. At present in Idaho and Oregon no specific license is required to practice as a (W)holistic Nutritionist and the title Certified (W)holistic Nutritionist is accepted.

Q: If no licensing is required then why do I need to complete a specialized Wholistic Nutrition Program?

A: While state licensing requirements vary, establishing credibility as a practitioner is a constant. Having credentials that identify you as having completed education and training specifically for your field are beneficial to your business and your clients. Clients tend to seek out the practitioner with recognized experience. Also, some states (e.g. Washington) required you complete a certification program in order to call yourself a certified nutritionist.

Q: What benefit is there for an existing practitioner to become certified as a (W)holistic Nutritionist?

A: Exiting practitioners can offer clients the added benefit of whole nutrition as a complement to various practice modalities, e.g. Acupuncture, Amma Therapy, Massage Therapy, Personal Training, etc. to give clients a more holistic view of all options in the pursuit of a healthier lifestyle.  


Q: What are the professional opportunities for a Wholistic Nutritionist as a standalone practice?

A; You can work solo or with a group of other holistic healthcare practitioners. Teaching individuals or groups cooking, shopping, pantry stocking or meal and menu planning all fall under the purview of a Wholistic nutritionist. You might also choose to work with individual clients to tailor menus or eating plans specifically based on their own constitution or needs, whether it’s to lose weight, address an illness or just learn to eat better. At the very least you’ll be able to make more educated and healthy choices for you and your family!

Q: Is there a national board, certification or designation for Wholistic Nutrition?

A: The National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP: www.nanp.org) is a driving force bringing consistency and quality to holistic nutrition at the national level. The American Association of Nutritional Consultants is another organization working to bring legitimacy to the field  (AANC:  www.aanc.net). Both organizations offer nationally recognized board level exams through extensions in their respective organizations. Eligibility is determined by membership, experience and having completed an approved program.

Q: What is special about the program at The Wellspring School?

A: The Wellspring Wholistic Nutrition Program offers a very unique approach that combines traditional Western nutritional studies with Wholistic Nutrition and Eastern (Chinese) energetics to give practitioners tools they need to effectively determine the individual nutritional needs of their clients.  The Wellspring believes that all whole food has deeply nourishing energetic properties and that there are no “bad” foods or “best” diets. Instead, recommendations are matched to the individuals needs rather then concepts of “good” and “bad” foods and diets.

Q: Does certification from The Wellspring School Wholistic Nutrition Program allow me to sit for the national board exams offered by the NANP or AANC?

A: The Wellspring School for Healing Arts Wholistic Nutrition Program is one of the few programs approved by the National Association of Nutrition Professionals, (NANP). Graduates of The Wellspring program are eligible to sit for the national board exam sponsored by the Holistic Nutrition Credentialing Board (HNCB), a division of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP). Upon successful passage of the Exam, you will be given a certificate officially recognizing you as, “Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition®”. Similarly, The American Associate of Nutritional Consultants recognizes The Wellspring School program and graduates are eligible to sit for their examination as well.

Q: Do I have to take all classes if I am certified/licensed in other areas?

A: Some practitioners (RN’s, LAc’s, Amma Therapists, etc.) may be able to pass out of a few of the program classes, e.g. Western A&P, Introduction to TCM, Chinese Diagnosis. These or similar classes must have been taken within the past five years to qualify for consideration. Contact the school office for more details.

Q: What do I receive when I complete The Wellspring Wholistic Nutrition Program?

A: You receive certification from the school and (depending on your state) you can practice under the title Certified (W)holistic Nutritionist (C.H.N.).

Q: What is the deal with the “W” in Wholistic Nutrition?

A: The Wellspring School for Healing Arts maintains the philosophy that a healthy lifestyle and nutrition is about the “whole” not the piece parts. So, we decided to keep the “w” as part of our nomenclature. Industry-wise, Wholistic Nutrition and Holistic Nutrition are the same thing.

Q: How long does the program take to complete?

A: One weekend a month for 18-22 months.

Q: Where are classes held?

A: In Boise, the majority of classes are held at The Wellspring School building located in the North End area of the city. In Portland, our classes are offered at various locations in the community in SE, NE and NW Portland.

Q: When do the next programs start?

A: Boise, Idaho: September 25, 2010 (third program) and Portland, Oregon: January 22, 2011 (first program)

Q: Where can I see a class schedule?

A: Check out our website to download a copy of the student handbook and upcoming class schedules. http://www.thewellspring.org/events.php


2 Comments to “Wholistic Nutrition: Industry and Program Frequently Asked Questions”

  1. Wow, thanks for this post! Thanks so much for the wonderful post.

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