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Holistic and Natural Health Schools and Training Programs
Deriving from ancient practices that treat the whole person, and not just the ailment, holistic care incorporates mental, emotional and spiritual health. If you want to work in health care and you appreciate the holistic approach, natural health care offers various careers.
Natural Health Careers
Holistic health care providers teach patients how lifestyle choices, environmental factors and emotional health impact a person's well-being. The methods of natural health care professionals vary, as in these examples:
Natural health care practices are used as alternatives to, or in conjunction with, pharmaceuticals, surgeries or other intervention treatments.
Training for Holistic Health Care
There are a variety of natural health programs that can prepare you for a career in holistic health care. Naturopathy students and others may have to meet state licensing and educational requirements in order to practice.
Acupuncture: Professional acupuncture programs consist of at least 47 semester credits, or 705 hours, according to the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, or CCAOM. Beyond acupuncture, courses could include counseling, ethics and practice management. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov) points out that licensing is obligatory in most states, generally requiring examinations, such as those administered by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
Chiropractic: To become licensed, chiropractors must complete two to four years of undergraduate education and a four-year accredited chiropractic program, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Programs require 4,200 or more hours of study, combining laboratory, clinical and classroom studies, while courses include anatomy, physiology and laboratory diagnosis. Chiropractors must also pass board examinations, such as the four-part test administered by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners.
Massage: The bls.gov confirms that most states require massage therapists to be licensed. Licensure involves completing 500 or more hours of study and passing exams, such as the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork or the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination. Training includes massage techniques and courses such as anatomy and kinesiology.
Naturopathy: The Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges reports that licensed naturopathic doctors must complete a four-year accredited professional program, after earning an undergraduate degree, and pass the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Exam. Training includes a two-year clinical internship and courses such as biochemistry, neuroscience and natural therapeutic techniques.
Nutrition: Dietitians need at least a bachelor's degree, notes the bls.gov, and most states require some type of licensing, which usually involves passing an exam. The Commission on Dietetic Registration of the American Dietetic Association awards the Registered Dietitian credential, a voluntary designation, which requires a supervised internship as well as studies. Coursework includes subjects like nutrition, biology and physiology.
Employment Prospects in Holistic Health
An aging population should contribute to job growth in all sectors of health care. Between 2008 and 2018, the bls.gov expects employment to increase by 20 percent for chiropractors, 19 percent for massage therapists and 9 percent for dietitians. The bls.gov includes these professions in the category of other health care providers, which includes physical therapists and psychologists as well as naturopaths and diverse practitioners of alternative health care; this group of occupations is expected to see 41.3 percent growth.
The bls.gov recorded the following median 2010 salaries:
A 2009 survey by the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians showed that 55 percent of respondents were in private or group practice, and of these, 77 percent earned over $120,000 a year. The CCAOM estimated that 2008 annual income for acupuncturists ranged between $30,000 and $60,000.
As a holistic health care provider, you might work in your own office, a medical clinic or a hospital. Nutritional counseling may be a part of community health programs, and massage therapy is often found in health spas and gyms. The environments for natural health care careers are as varied as the occupations themselves.
See our featured natural health and naturopathy schools below to get started on a career where you can help others achieve mental, emotional and spiritual health.
Additional Information for Individuals Enrolling in Natural and Holistic Health Schools Found on Health-Care-Careers.org
Additional Resources for Professionals Seeking a Holistic Medicine and Natural Health Degree
Campus and Online Holistic and Natural Health Schools