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Ayurveda Schools and Careers

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Get an Ayurveda College and Career Overview

Ayurveda, or “the science of life” in Sanskrit, is a holistic system of medicine that originated in India thousands of years ago. Its basic approach is to balance the mind, body and spirit through traditional techniques and treatments that promote health and prevent illness.

Ayurvedic practitioners view people as having a unique constitution (prakriti) and combination of life forces, known as doshas, which determine their physical and psychological health and vulnerabilities. Healthful balance is maintained using a customized regimen of cleansing practices, meditation or yoga, herbal medicines, vitamins and/or mineral treatments.

In India, where the tradition originated, it’s not uncommon to find an Ayurveda college or hospital in most large cities. Ayurveda school is a little harder to come by in the United States, but as time passes, more Ayurveda training programs are cropping up at state-approved educational institutions.

Career Overview

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), nearly 40% of people in the United States used alternative forms of medicine (including supplements), so there’s a clear market for practitioners of Ayurveda and other natural healing practices. Accordingly, a number of career opportunities are available to graduates of Ayurveda college. Some learn Ayurvedic principles as part of a pre-medical program; in that context, you might choose to work as a doctor in a clinic or private practice. Others choose to teach general Ayurvedic concepts at an Ayurveda school or wellness center, or specialize in administering therapies such as massage, yoga or panchakarma.

Training and Education

What You’ll Study in Ayurveda School

In a typical Ayurveda college, you can expect to learn the basic concepts and philosophies of Ayurvedic tradition, as well as clinical practices and traditional treatments. Topics covered in your Ayurveda training may include:

  • Transcendental meditation techniques
  • The mind-body connection
  • Ayurvedic nutrition and the six tastes
  • Client observation and evaluation
  • Dietary and herbal treatment plans

Average Length of Study

If you choose to pursue a pre-med program that incorporates Ayurvedic training, then you can expect to spend about four years completing your bachelor’s degree. In contrast, diploma or certificate programs at an Ayurveda college take one to two years to complete. Shorter programs may require as few as 500 hours, while comprehensive certificates usually include 1000 to 1500 hours.

Average Tuition

Most schools offering Ayurveda training programs are private institutions or learning centers, and as a result, tuition for a four-year degree can really add up. However, if the Ayurveda college is appropriately accredited, you may be eligible for federal financial aid. Diploma or certificate programs generally cost about $5,000 for a 500-hour program.

Ayurveda Certification

Currently, the United States does not specify a certification requirement for Ayurvedic practitioners, though more and more programs are being offered through state-approved institutions. Membership in a professional group such as the National Ayurvedic Medical Association can help you establish credibility in the field and demonstrate your commitment to competent and ethical Ayurvedic healing.

Ayurveda Salary

Earnings in the Ayurveda field vary widely depending on whether you’re a medical doctor with Ayurveda training or an independent practitioner, and whether you work part time or full time. You can research salaries, provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, here:

Acupuncturists and Healthcare Diagnosing or Treating Practitioners, All Other

National data

Median Salary: $82,420

Bottom 10%: $43,200

Top 10%: $160,990

Projected job growth: -0.3%

State data

State Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Alabama $77,010 $56,390 $132,270
Alaska $87,750 $57,550 $159,120
Arizona $66,330 $38,340 $114,990
Arkansas $60,570 $36,190 $109,490
California $72,210 $36,540 $154,570
Colorado $63,050 $39,800 $116,330
Connecticut $84,960 $57,190 $170,800
Delaware $88,330 $64,670 $105,340
District of Columbia N/A N/A N/A
Florida $59,370 $21,670 $106,900
Georgia $112,150 $69,690 $160,310
Hawaii $60,510 $31,840 $106,600
Idaho $84,280 $58,050 N/A
Illinois $62,380 $32,620 $114,660
Indiana $62,780 $34,040 $119,580
Iowa $73,910 $51,860 $118,660
Kansas $66,820 $53,450 $123,070
Kentucky $62,270 $48,400 $112,520
Louisiana N/A N/A N/A
Maine $73,580 $40,460 $115,980
Maryland $142,180 $94,970 $170,800
Massachusetts $76,040 $49,760 $128,670
Michigan $83,680 $47,500 N/A
Minnesota $72,200 $43,230 $128,280
Mississippi $68,780 $55,880 $111,390
Missouri $64,650 $46,700 $119,830
Montana $96,490 $55,870 $136,910
Nebraska $63,700 $47,390 $106,600
Nevada $75,790 $29,450 $179,450
New Hampshire $87,880 $53,390 N/A
New Jersey $84,880 $57,540 $169,410
New Mexico $67,010 $29,970 $103,910
New York $70,420 $42,700 $154,220
North Carolina $97,470 $58,070 $149,950
Ohio $84,360 $57,830 $138,220
Oklahoma $62,260 $33,640 $136,570
Oregon $85,940 $45,750 $128,510
Pennsylvania $76,530 $54,480 $128,930
Rhode Island $110,940 $57,800 $160,020
South Carolina $62,270 $52,900 $115,560
South Dakota $67,650 $52,710 $94,640
Tennessee $56,980 $38,930 $92,080
Texas $67,120 $27,700 $126,020
Utah $79,270 $53,760 $118,610
Vermont $75,520 $37,590 $136,760
Virginia $92,580 $60,200 $149,630
Washington $75,460 $41,810 $156,410
West Virginia $62,550 $53,110 $140,150
Wisconsin $69,510 $36,480 $115,890
Wyoming N/A N/A N/A

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2020 median salary; projected job growth through 2029. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.

Is an Ayurveda Career Right for You?

Unlike the approach of Western medicine, which tends to focus on treatment of symptoms, Ayurvedic health care focuses on prevention and on individual attention and evaluation. It’s a truly holistic approach to wellness that promotes a healthy diet and lifestyle as well as an intense spiritual connection with our bodies, our minds and the world around us. If this approach to health appeals to you, then take some time to research Ayurveda college.

Sources: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH, formerly the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine [NCCAM]), National Institute of Health, Florida Institute for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, The Ayurvedic Institute, Kerala Ayurveda Academy, Maharishi University of Management, National Ayurvedic Medical Association.