lternative medicine is the art and science of healing the whole person, including the body, mind, and spirit. Alternative medicine schools prepare students for a wide range of careers in holistic healing. Some career paths that are open to alternative medicine degree holders include acupuncturist, massage therapist, Ayurvedic practitioner, chiropractor, naturopathic physician, and doctor of oriental medicine. Explore alternative medicine programs now if you would like to build a career as a natural healer.
Alternative Medicine Degree Options
The demand for natural healers has grown exponentially in recent years. More patients are seeking alternative treatments to supplement or prevent the need for conventional medicine. Degrees in alternative medicine are typically available at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level. Certifications are also offered in specific areas of specialization.
The degree level you pursue will be determined by your desired career path. For example, massage therapists will typically enrol in a certificate or associate’s degree programs, where in contrast, naturopathic physicians typically must earn a doctoral degree. Some holistic healers may also elect to combine study in both traditional and alternative medicine in order to increase their career prospects, as well as provide well-rounded support to their patients.
Prerequisites and Curriculum for Alternative Medicine Programs
Prerequisites for alternative medicine programs vary widely, but admissions requirements for undergraduate degree programs typically include a high school diploma or GED, a minimum required GPA, and the completion of prerequisite courses in subjects like English, psychology, algebra, speech communication, biology, and chemistry.
Graduate degree programs in alternative medicine generally require a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, a minimum required GPA, and the completion of required coursework in areas like biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics. Associate’s and master’s degrees take about two years to complete, and bachelor’s and doctoral degrees take about four years to complete.
Many alternative health degree programs are comprehensive in that they cover a variety of alternative treatments. Some schools offer online degrees, enabling students to achieve their holistic health career goals online. Courses that alternative medicine students might be required to take include the following:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Energy medicine
- Advanced healing methods
- Nutritional biochemistry
- Acupuncture treatment strategy
- Herbal clinical medicine
Job Opportunities in the Field of Alternative Medicine
Alternative medicine practitioners have varied backgrounds and training. There are not national licensing standards for holistic healers like there are for conventional doctors in the United States. However, most states require alternative medicine practitioners to be certified, licensed, or registered to practice. Jobs that a holistic health degree may qualify you for include:
- Doctor of Oriental Medicine
- Massage therapist
- Naturopathic physician
- Holistic nutritionist.
Many holistic health practitioners are self-employed and keep flexible hours. Important qualities for holistic health practitioners to have are communication skills, empathy, physical stamina and strength, and decision-making skills. The salaries of natural health practitioners vary significantly. For example, in 2012, massage therapists earned a median annual wage of $35,970 per year, while chiropractors earned $66,160.
If you have a deep interest in holistic health and enjoy the natural healing arts, a career in alternative medicine may be right for you. Alternative medicine is not only a career – it is a lifestyle. Begin your journey to helping others achieve health and wellness by enrolling in an alternative medicine school today.