Differentiating the Roles of Dietitian, Nutritionist, and Holistic Nutritionist

Differentiating the Roles of Dietitian, Nutritionist, and Holistic Nutritionist

Dietitian, Nutritionist, Holistic Nutritionist: Non-Interchangeable Designations

When referring to a professional occupation, many people will often use a generalization instead of stating a more precise designation.  For example, they may talk about an eye doctor rather than distinguishing between optician, optometrist, and ophthalmologist; in the same way, they might refer to a dentist when a more accurate title would be oral surgeon, orthodontist, or endodontist.

While it is understandable that many people are more comfortable in using the umbrella terms eye doctor and dentist, there are some clear and noteworthy differences between the respective areas of specialization noted above when they are examined more closely.  And these are by no means the only cases where one will see this lack of differentiation; another common example is the general use of the word nutritionist when it would be far more appropriate to distinguish nutritionists from dietitians and holistic nutritionists.

Although all of these roles involve counseling individuals in relation to food and nutrition, some prominent differences become evident when they are compared and contrasted in such areas as:

  • Education
  • Work Settings
  • Supervised Training
  • Dietary Recommendations
  • Coverage of Professional Fees
  • Regulatory or Governing Bodies

To that end, the following outline may be helpful in demonstrating why the designations of dietitian, nutritionist, and holistic nutritionist should be applied independently and not interchangeably.

Principal Differences between Dietitian and Nutritionist Certifications in Canada

  • Dietitian:
    • Education – 4-year bachelor’s degree in food and nutrition; 1-year clinical internship
    • Work Settings – hospitals, long-term/health care centres, diabetes education centres
    • Supervised Training – must complete more than 1250 hours of supervised training
    • Dietary Recommendations – are based on scientific research and practical evidence
    • Professional Fees – covered by Ontario provincial plan (OHIP) and many private plans
    • Governing Bodies – dietitians are professionally regulated by a provincial college
  • Nutritionist:
    • Education – no formal nutrition training needed; ‘nutritionist’ is not a protected title
    • Work Settings – private practice or group classes only; hospital work not permitted
    • Supervised Training – no compulsory/mandatory training required
    • Dietary Recommendations – tend to be alternative treatments vs evidence-based
    • Professional Fees – are not covered by OHIP nor by private insurance plans
    • Governing Bodies – none
  • Holistic Nutritionist:
    • Education – minimum high school diploma plus a 1year nutritionist school program
    • Work Settings – private health clinics, fitness centres/gyms; cannot work in hospitals
    • Supervised Training – must complete a job placement or practicum of 100 hours
    • Dietary Recommendations – based on a study of natural nutrition (diploma program)
    • Professional Fees – no OHIP coverage; now covered by many insurance plans
    • Governing Bodies – CANNP, IONC, NANP registration offers professional designation

Online Study Programs for Becoming a Certified Holistic Nutritionist in Canada

Online Study Programs for Becoming a Certified Holistic Nutritionist in Canada

Typically, a dietitian provides people with information and suggestions on eating well by adhering to the dietary recommendations set out in Canada’s Food Guide; this includes a determination of the types and amounts of food to consume every day from four basic food groups (fruits and vegetables, grains, milk and alternatives, meat and alternatives).

By contrast, the role of a certified holistic nutritionist is that of a counsellor or mentor for attaining and sustaining a healthy lifestyle; this is done through sharing their knowledge of nutrition, eating habits, and daily routines in order to improve or enrich an individual’s physical and mental well-being.  In turn, this can be a viable career option for those who want to improve and maintain their own overall state of health as well as that of others.

If you are interested in pursuing a career as a certified holistic nutritionist, you will want to explore the opportunity afforded by the Edison Institute of Nutrition (EIN), a holistic nutritionist school by distance learning with locations in Ontario and Quebec.  The EIN is known as one of the top online schools for holistic nutrition certification in Canada; our curriculum includes:

  • Diploma in Holistic Nutrition
  • Advanced Diploma Program
  • Post-Graduate Mentorship Program
  • Accelerated Program for Health Professionals

Furthermore, our Diploma in Holistic Nutrition is recognized as one of the most in-depth programs available online, encompassing more than 2000 hours of study time.

To learn more about becoming a holistic nutritionist in worldwide and how you can achieve your holistic nutritionist diploma from the Edison Institute of Nutrition, a top online school in Canada, call us today at 1-800-456-9313 or contact us to arrange a consultation with one of our educational advisors.

Also Read: Difference Between a Dietician and a Holistic Nutritionist?

2 thoughts on “Differentiating the Roles of Dietitian, Nutritionist, and Holistic Nutritionist”

  1. Hello,
    Please send me the details of the Accelerated Program for Health Professionals.


  2. We offer an accelerated program for those that have already taken science or nutrition courses in university as part of their current profession. We would prepare an assessment based on transcripts and then create a custom program for you. This would exempt you from repeating the subjects you have already covered and therefore reduce the overall content and tuition fees. This is the link to our application page on our website for the Credit Transfer Assessment Application.

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