Alternative Medicine

Alternative medicine no longer receives the skeptical looks it once did. It’s not uncommon for conventional doctors to recommend alternative treatment to compliment western methods.


Alternative medicine has gained momentum in the medical field and career options are as varied as a Chinese herb collection.


Alternative medicine encompasses many methods making the salary range broad. Dig deeper into your career choices to find out what you can earn.


What do you need to know about enrolling in an alternative medicine program? Consider all the degree and diploma options available.

Learn More About Your Alternative Medicine Journey


With its growing acceptance into the mainstream, alternative medicine careers are blossoming. Certificates and degree programs are plentiful, whether you want to work as an herbalist, yoga instructor or naturopathic doctor. One of the most exciting aspects of going back to school to study alternative medicine is the people you’ll meet. In your classes, you’ll encounter students from varied backgrounds, from corporate office workers to stay-at-home moms.

You’ll have your pick of healing methods. Hypnotherapists work with patients to lessen stress or change habits while an herbalist treats clients with specific recipes. Those who are interested in ancient Chinese medicine will delve into acupuncture, and a massage therapist naturally treats the aches and pains of their clients. While the tasks of each job differ, there is an overarching theme: To heal naturally.

The salary range for alternative medicine practitioners can be wide because different careers require different levels of education. For example, the median annual income for a massage therapist with a certificate is about $30,000 less than a doctorate-level chiropractor. However, for many natural health practitioners, it’s less about the money and more about feeling fulfilled. You can’t put a dollar figure on that.

What do you need to know about enrolling in an alternative medicine program? Consider all the degree and diploma options available. Some career paths require a certificate, which often takes less time to earn than a degree. An alternative medicine degree program will examine the history of medicine and provide an all-encompassing review of various remedies, such as homeopathy, Ayurveda and spiritual healing.

If you’re ready to get started, use this guide to lead you in the right direction.

Need-to-Know School and Career Facts


There isn’t one specific licensing body for alternative medicine. In many cases, there is a state licensing agency dedicated to each alternative health profession. For example, massage therapists must take a different licensing exam as an acupuncturist. When in doubt, check with your state medical board.


If you’re looking to enhance your existing degree with an alternative medicine specialization, a certificate is a great option. Some massage therapists earn a certificate in aromatherapy while a naturopathic doctor might take homeopathy courses to advance their knowledge. For added convenience, some alternative medicine certificates are offered online. This can be useful if you’re working while going to school. You’ll have more flexibility to fit your classes into an already-busy schedule.


School accreditation is similar to licensing in that there isn’t one agency that gives its approval for alternative medicine. For example, if you’re looking at naturopathic doctor programs, ensure the school is accredited by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME). However, the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation signs off on massage therapist degree programs.

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