How Much Can I Earn as a Holistic Health Practitioner?
Those interested in the world of holistic health can expect varied salaries for a large—and growing—list of careers.
“Holistic health” is not a particular job. Instead, it’s a philosophy that informs and defines a number of healthcare careers. There are a wide range of jobs that use the holistic health philosophy of treating the entire person (not just a symptom or disease), and a wide range of salaries as well.
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Projected job growth: 11.9%
Projected job growth: 22.2%
Projected job growth: 11.2%
Average salary information is calculated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and is based on the 2019 payroll records of business establishments. Actual salaries vary greatly depending on your location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and many other factors. Please note that salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.
Many traditional healthcare providers have started incorporating holistic health practices into their treatments and approaches, and this has contributed to an increase in salaries for holistic practitioners in recent years. While many holistic health practitioners still open and run their own practices, there are increasing opportunities for holistic providers in spas, wellness centers, and even medical centers that integrate holistic approaches.
For example, the respected Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine in California employs acupuncturists alongside registered nurses and other traditional healthcare professionals.
This greater visibility and acceptance doesn’t just benefit holistic providers who work at medical centers. It also means that providers who run their own practices might be able to attract more clients, plus set higher fees that reflect their skills and education.
“In many states, holistic healthcare is starting to be incorporated into more mainstream institutions which increases access to a greater population of individuals,” says Jennifer Bennett, ND, LAc, a professor at Bastyr University in Seattle. “Some will build holistic practitioners into their clinics to provide preventative or adjunctive care to patients.”
Most Popular Holistic Healthcare Jobs and Their Salaries
Your salary will depend on your career, your education, your experience, and other factors. One important thing to be aware of is that holistic health providers do still often run their own practices. That means you’ll be responsible for taxes and overhead costs like office and equipment rental.
You might also need to pay to advertise your services, host a website, and more. This doesn’t mean you can’t make a great living as a holistic health provider, but it does mean you need to look at more than just hourly fees billed to clients when calculating your potential salary.
You can explore average salaries in popular holistic careers below.
Holistic Healthcare: A Growing Market
A notable benefit of the growing acceptance of and demand for holistic professionals is an increase in insurance reimbursement. While not all holistic health disciplines are recognized by insurance companies, some, such as nutritionists, acupuncturists, midwives, and massage therapists, sometimes are.
One example of this: The American Massage Therapy Association reported a 3% increase in insurance reimbursement for massage therapy between 2018 and 2019.
Another example comes from a place you might not expect, but that has serious implications for holistic health. Medicare, the national health insurance program that services more than 60 million Americans, provides coverage for some holistic services, including:
It’s a trend that’s likely to continue. As more and more people seek the services of holistic health practitioners, the providers will enjoy increased respect and career growth possibilities. That might not always mean insurance reimbursement, but it is likely to mean your services will be in demand.
Piper Gibson, a board-certified doctor of natural medicine who specializes in pediatric mental health and development disorders and practices at Aria Wellness in Las Cruces, New Mexico, has seen this demand in her own practice and believes it will continue in the future.
“One in two parents whose child is diagnosed with a mental or developmental disorder experience grief and helplessness and don’t know where to turn,” says Gibson. “There is more and more information supporting the fact that diet, lifestyle, and environment impact our health, and parents are looking for other ways to help their children.”
What Education Do I Need?
Your education will depend on which career path you want to follow. Some holistic careers are regulated by states, and you’ll need to meet certain educational requirements to practice.
For example, nurse midwives always need to be registered nurses with master’s degrees. Naturopaths aren’t regulated in all states, but in order to be board certified, they need to earn a doctorate. On the other hand, you might be able to earn a certificate in energy healing or massage therapy in as little as a few weeks.
No matter what, it’s important to make sure you have the appropriate education. Getting the education you need will help you provide safe and effective care for your patients. It will also let your patients know that you’re a true professional, something that’s extremely important if you’re looking to build your own business with a client base.
Do I Need to Be Certified?
Just like education, the certification you need depends on the holistic career path you choose. Some professions in this group, like acupuncturists, midwives, naturopaths, massage therapists, and nutritionists, require certification. You’ll need to meet standards for certification before you can get hired or open your own practice.
Certification standards are looser for some holistic professions, such as life coaches and energy healers. However, earning a professional certification is a smart idea, because they can help you prove your skills and qualifications. They can also help build your reputation, which can help you build a client base.
What Jobs Can I Get with a Holistic Health Background?
A holistic health philosophy can take you down many exciting career paths. The right path for you depends on your interests. Someone with an interest in medicine and natural remedies might thrive as an herbalist, while someone who enjoys helping people overcome difficulties might make an excellent life coach.
Remember that holistic health practitioners are often their own bosses. They open their own practices and create their own client base. That means that a career in holistic health will also require you to have a little bit of business, marketing, and accounting savvy.
Written and Reported by:
With professional insight from:
Jennifer Bennett, ND, LAc
Naturopath and Professor, Bastyr University
Doctor of Natural Medicine