Biofeedback Schools and Careers

Alternative Medicine

Learn About Biofeedback Training Schools and Courses

Biofeedback therapy helps patients enlist the power of their own minds to encourage physical wellness. Using feedback from electrical sensors connected to the body, individuals learn to make small changes to their own physiological activity such as breathing, heart rate and muscle tension in order to reduce pain.

Increased relaxation and improved health can also be achieved through biofeedback therapy, making the treatments more popular in today’s alternative medicine wellness boom.

Generally, this form of therapy is used in a clinical setting by licensed health professionals. Because it provides an alternative to drugs for the treatment of stress-induced pain, such as migraines or muscle spasms, it works well in a natural medicine setting.

Career Overview

Biofeedback school is becoming increasingly popular in a number of health and medical spheres, including physical therapy, psychology, nursing and respiratory therapy. Biofeedback is used to treat a range of ailments, from high blood pressure to pelvic muscle dysfunction, without the assistance of drugs.

Practitioners of biofeedback therapy often work in hospitals, medical offices or physical therapy clinics. During a biofeedback session, which typically lasts 30 to 60 minutes, the therapist will use techniques such as temperature biofeedback and heart rate variability biofeedback to help attune patients to the body’s physiological reactions.

Schools and Education

What You’ll Study in Biofeedback School

If you’re planning to practice biofeedback therapy in a clinical setting, the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance (BCIA) recommends that you first earn an accredited degree in a health-related field such as psychology, nursing or medicine. Your biofeedback course work may take place as part of your degree, or you may choose to seek out education through a separate biofeedback training program. In either case, you’ll study anatomy and physiology, the stress response, the history and theory of biofeedback, and equipment techniques.

Average Length of Biofeedback School Study

If you receive biofeedback training as part of a health care program, the length of study depends on the degree you’re earning—an associate’s degree usually takes 2 to 3 years, while a bachelor’s degree takes 4 years. Your education must include 48 hours of biofeedback course work and 20 hours of training with a mentor if you plan to seek BCIA certification.

Average Biofeedback Therapy School Tuition

Tuition for biofeedback therapy school varies quite a lot. At a private school such as the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine & Health Sciences, tuition is $24,200 per year, while state schools and community colleges cost considerably less—fees are $4,000-$6,000 per year at San Francisco State University’s Institute for Holistic Health Studies.

Biofeedback Therapy Certification

Certification is not mandatory for practitioners of biofeedback therapy, but the BCIA strongly recommends professional certification in order to ensure a high standard of care for patients. In addition, you must hold a state-approved license appropriate to your profession—if you’re a social worker, for example, you should possess the appropriate license to practice in your state.

Biofeedback Salary

As a practitioner of biofeedback therapy, your salary will vary depending on the exact nature of your job. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2016-17 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for registered nurses is $67,490, while a psychologist earns $72,580, and a physical therapist earns a median annual salary of $84,020. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors.

Is a Biofeedback Career Right for You?

The field of biofeedback promotes the idea that the mind and body are profoundly interconnected, and that overall health can be improved through our mind’s ability to affect functions such as breathing, heart rate and muscle activity. Health care providers with an interest in alternative, non-drug treatments may be well suited to a career in biofeedback therapy.

Sources: The Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, Inc., MayoClinic.com, Biofeedback Certification International Alliance, National Health Statistics Reports, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences.

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