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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. These programs are designed to enhance knowledge of CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine) and teach practitioners how to treat patients looking for CAM remedies.

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.

  • Program Levels in Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Graduate certificate
  • Prerequisites: A bachelor's or a master's degree, depending on the institution and program; background check sometimes required
  • Program Length: 1-2 years to complete
  • Other Requirements: Practicum

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 2014, the mean pay for chiropractors was $79,760 and that employment from would increase by 15% between 2012 and 2022. 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

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