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Alternative Medicine Certification, Certificate and Diploma Programs

Certificate programs in alternative medicine are available at natural health colleges and some traditional universities. Learn more about these certificate programs and post-graduation career options.

Essential Information

Alternative medicine graduate certificate programs may cover a wide variety of modalities, but at the core of all of these options is the basic philosophy of treating the whole person. These certificate programs usually take 1-2 years to complete. Some schools require certificate students to take part in clinical practica. Depending on the institution and program, a bachelor's or master's degree may be required for admission, along with the possibility for a background check.


Complementary and Alternative Medicine Certificate

Coursework covers a wide spectrum of techniques, methods and philosophies related to the practice of complementary and alternative medicine, including massage, meditation and nutrition. Common courses may include:

  • Wellness counseling
  • Mind-body medicine
  • Body-based methods and techniques
  • Foundation for promoting healthy lifestyles
  • Herbal and homeopathic medicines

Popular Careers

Many people who obtain a Certificate in Complementary and Alternative Medicine are health or human services professionals interested in expanding their understanding of CAM. Workers who are not directly involved in medicine might earn this certificate in order to expand their skill set.

  • Nurse
  • Psychologist
  • Physician
  • Physician assistant

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Interest in alternative medicine is growing rapidly. A certification in complementary and alternative health might benefit many different health professionals including, for example, chiropractic physicians. The BLS estimated that in May of 2015, the mean pay for chiropractors was $78,370 and that employment from would increase by 17% between 2014 and 2024. This is faster than average job growth.

Continuing Education

Many degree programs are available for individuals wishing to study alternative medicine in more-depth. Individuals can find bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs, including a Bachelor of Science in Herbal Sciences, a Master of Science in Oriental Medicine, a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. These degree programs take 2-8 years to complete. Some programs might require potential students to have prerequisite courses in psychology and the sciences.

Within the U.S, five alternative medicine colleges have been accredited by a regional accrediting agency and are members of the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Colleges. Additionally, with the growing popularity of alternative medicine, many traditional universities are beginning to offer CAM or related programs. Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree programs are offered through 25 medical schools.

Pursuing an education in alternative medicine could require a significant time commitment for potential students. While an alternative medicine graduate certificate only takes 1-2 years to complete, most students will obtain an undergraduate and graduate degree as well, meaning up to 8 years will be dedicated to education in this field. Nonetheless, it could be worthwhile as careers such as chiropractors are projected to grow 17% over the next decade.

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