How to Become a Holistic Nurse: Job Description, Salary, Certification

Nurse reads to patientA holistic nurse is a licensed nurse who focuses on healing the whole person rather than treating a disease. A holistic nurse takes the patients mind, body, spirit, emotions and environment into consideration when practicing traditional nursing.


Table of Contents
How to Become a Holistic Nurse
Education Requirements
Holistic Nurse Job Description
Sample Job Description
Holistic Nursing on YouTube
Personality Traits
Career Options
National Salary Snapshot
Holistic Nurse Certification
Cost of Certification
Career Path
Professional Organizations
Relevant Publications
Related Careers

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide specific information for holistic nurses but the organization does offer an overview of registered nurses.

Nurse Salary and Employment Data

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Source: BLS Wage Data by Area and Occupation. * or ** indicate insignificant or unavailable data.

Level of Education Required Associate degree or Bachelor Degree in Nursing
Board Examinations needed NCLEX-RN, RN-BC
Average Salary $66,220
# of Jobs (2012) 2,712,000
Job Outlook (2012 to 2022) 19% growth

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

How to become a holistic nurse

To become a holistic nurse, a candidate:

  • Must have an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
  • Must have passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN)
  • May pursue voluntary certification as a holistic nurse
  • May pursue education and certification in acupuncture or massage

Education requirements

To become a holistic nurse, one must get an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN), Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).

Wilkes RN to MS


Job description

The holistic nurse performs the same standard nursing care as other registered nurses, such as assessing a patient’s health, starting IV fluids, administering medication and taking medical histories. Holistic nurses also provide other health treatments and therapies to improve the patient’s overall health and well-being, such as acupuncture, stress management, hypnosis, hydrotherapy, massage, aromatherapy, wellness coaching and various Chinese and Eastern healing practices.

Sample job description

Sample job descriptions and qualifications are sourced from various job board websites, like these:,

  • Provides alternative treatment and holistic medicine for cancer and other debilitating diseases
  • Administers infusions under the direction of a physician


  • 2-3 years experience as a holistic nurse and a flexible schedule

Personality traits:

  • Multi-faceted
  • Structured
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Independent

As with other registered nurses, holistic nurses report to nursing supervisors and sometimes physicians.

Holistic nursing on YouTube

Career options

A holistic nurse may work in a variety of settings, such as

  • Integrated care departments in hospitals
  • Patients’ homes
  • Birthing Centers

Holistic nurses are already in high demand because they perform complementary and alternative therapies in addition to standard nursing care. Demand will likely grow as clinical practices incorporate an ever-widening scope of medical services to patients.

National salary snapshot

SimplyHired posts the average yearly pay at $45,000 for the position, while Indeed lists the salary of a holistic nurse as $58,000.

Certification information

American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation (AHNCC) offers various certifications for several levels of holistic nursing. AHNCC offers two Certifications in Basic Holistic Nursing: Holistic Nurse, Board Certified (HN-BC) and Holistic Baccalaureate Nurse, Board Certified (HNB-BC).

To earn an HN-BC, the candidate must possess an unrestricted and current license as a registered nurse and have graduated from a school of nursing accredited by AACN or the National League of Nursing (NLN). HN-BC requires a minimum of a diploma or associate degree. HNB-BC requires a minimum of a BSN.

A nurse interested in certification must have actively practiced as a holistic nurse full-time for at least one year or part-time working 2,000 hours or more within the previous five years. The candidate should have also completed at least 48 hours of continuing education in holistic nursing within two years preceding the application.

AHNCC offers two certifications in Advanced Holistic Nursing: Advanced Holistic Nurse, Board Certified (AHN-BC) and Advanced Practice Holistic Nurse, Board Certified (APHN-BC).

For the AHN-BC or APHN-BC certification, the candidate must have a current and unrestricted RN license and have graduated from an accredited school. Candidates must have worked actively as a holistic nurse for one year fulltime or 2,000 part-time along with at least 48 hours of continuing education in holistic nursing.

Cost of certification

Credential: HN-BC

Fees for Non-Members:

Initial Exam: $395

Recertification: $320

Fees for Members:

Initial Exam: $375

Recertification: $290

Typical career path

The typical career path to becoming a holistic nurse is to:

  • Earn an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN), Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
  • Pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN)
  • Work as a registered nurse, practicing holistic nursing fulltime for at least one year
  • Complete continuing education in holistic nursing

Earn Board Certification (HN-BC) from the American Holistic Nurse Certification Corporation (AHNCC).

Professional organizations

American Holistic Nurses Association:

Relevant publications

Journal of Holistic Nursing

Beginnings: AHNA’s Member Magazine

Holistic Nursing Practice

Related careers

Registered nurse – provides nursing care to patients in hospitals and residents in nursing homes