The term “alternative medicine” or “complementary and alternative medicine” is a catch-all that can include anything from licensed and professional practitioners of chiropractics and acupuncture to someone who once read a book about being a lifestyle coach. The broader categories of alternative medicine often include
- Ayurvedic medicine
- Energy medicines
- Faith healing
- Herbal remedies
- Holistic/mind-body medicine
- Manipulation Medicine
- Naturopathic Medicine
- Traditional Chinese Medicine
If you are interested in learning more about getting an alternative medicine degree, there are many different kinds of academic programs available, both in person and online. You can earn anything from a certificate in your specialty (like massage therapy) to a Ph.D. or ND (naturopathic doctor), depending on your program and area of interest.
Most alternative medicine degree programs are just as academically rigorous, if not more so, than traditional educations. To earn a BS, students are often required to take courses in: English, computers, communications, humanities, math, social science, natural science, behavioral science, biology, chemistry, anatomy & physiology. And that’s before you even get to the fun courses in alternative medicine.
If you wish to practice on clients or patients, after you earn your alternative medicine degree you will need to be licensed by the state board that governs your area (if there is one). Before hanging out your diploma or degree, do due diligence to ensure that you are following the letter of the law, and have yourself properly covered with malpractice/liability insurance, etc.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics cites a generally positive view for careers in alternative medicine. While most people in the western world choose to treat serious conditions with traditional medicine, a lot of people in the US are comfortable supplementing with alternatives like herbs, massage, aromatherapy, etc. The salaries can be rewarding, too. The USBLS says the average massage therapist will earn $37,180 per year in 2016-2017 and experienced NDs can earn up to $200,000 per year.
There is room to grow in this burgeoning field. There is also a lot of interest in it, both from potential patients/clients and practitioners. If you’d like to learn more about how to earn and use your alternative medicine degree, consider New Eden School of Natural Health & Herbal Studies. Visit them online for more information at https://newedenschoolofnaturalhealth.org.