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Alternative Medicine Colleges and Schools in the U.S.

Alternative medicine is a broad field that includes homeopathy, herbology, massage, acupuncture, chiropractic, aromatherapy, naturopathy, ayurvedic (Indian) medicine and other specialties. Programs in these fields can be found at various schools, leading to certificates, diplomas and undergraduate and graduate degrees.

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Alternative medicine emphasizes the natural prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, conditions and ailments. Educational requirements for alternative medicine specialties vary widely, but many jobs typically require a degree, certificate or diploma.

Schools with Alternative Medicine Programs

The below schools offer alternative medicine programs at various degree levels:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered* Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)**
Metropolitan State University of Denver Denver, CO 4-year, Public Bachelor's Undergraduate: In-state $6,420; Out-of-state $20,057
Drexel University Philadelphia, PA 4-year, Private Certificate Graduate: $913 per credit (approximately $10,956, 2016-2017)*
Idaho State University Pocatello, ID 4-year, Public Certificate, Associate's Undergraduate: In-state $6,784; Out-of-state $20,182
Vincennes University Vincennes, IN 4-year, Public Associate's Undergraduate: In-state $5,375 Out-of-state $12,709
Florida State College at Jacksonville Jacksonville, FL 4-year, Public Certificate Undergraduate: In-state $2,830 Out-of-state: $9,944
Daytona State College Daytona, FL 4-year, Public Certificate Undergraduate: In-state $3,282 Out-of-state $12,352
Miami Dade College Miami, FL 4-year, Public Certificate Undergraduate: In-state $2,834 Out-of-state $9,661
Madison Area Technical College Madison, WI 4-year, Public Certificate Undergraduate: In-state $4,217 Out-of-state $6,143

Source: *School websites, **National Center for Education Statistics

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Acupuncture and Acupressure
  • Alternative and Complementary Medicine
  • Herbalist
  • Homeopathic Medicine
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Movement Therapies
  • Naturopathic Medicine
  • Polarity Therapy
  • Traditional Eastern Medicine and Herbology
  • Yoga Therapy and Instructor

School Selection Criteria

Consider the following when looking for alternative medicine schools:

  • Before choosing a school, prospective students should decide whether they want to enroll in a general alternative medicine program or find one that focuses on a particular specialty area within the field.
  • Students should look for schools with hands-on training in their alternative medicine programs, such as supervised practice at alternative medicine clinics, shops and businesses.
  • Since many alternative medicine practitioners become self-employed, students should consider whether they want to run their own practice and enroll in schools that offer basic business classes related to their specialty.
  • Students who are considering Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND) programs should make sure that the program has been accredited by the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC).

Associate's Degree Programs

In associate's degree programs in alternative medicine, students take courses in basic biomedical sciences, such as anatomy and physiology. They also learn how alternative medicine practices may be used to treat disease and maintain health. Within these programs, students may be able to choose a formal concentration, such as aromatherapy, herbal medicine or holistic spa. Prior to graduation from one of these two-year programs, students must also complete general education courses.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

Bachelor's degree programs provide a comprehensive overview of the field, covering alternative medical practices such as acupuncture, acupressure, herbology, reflexology reiki, meditation and Chinese medicine. Students also learn about the scientific foundations of alternative medicine, the history of the field and current trends in holistic health. Graduates may be awarded a Bachelor of Science (BS) or Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree.

Master's Degree Programs

Master's degree programs in alternative medicine are available for bachelor's degree-holders who want to start a career in the field, as well as experienced health professionals who want to augment their expertise with studies in the field. Therefore, many are offered in flexible scheduling formats in order to meet the needs of working professionals. Some schools offer programs in general topics, such as holistic health studies, while others confer degrees in particular areas of the field, such as holistic nutrition.

Doctoral Degree Programs

In order to work as a naturopathic doctor, it is necessary to earn a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND) degree. These four-year programs combine studies in biomedical science and traditional Western medicine with extensive coursework in alternative medicine techniques. Students also get hands-on training through clinical rotation. Upon completion, graduates are eligible for the Naturopathic Licensing Examinations (NPLEX), which provides the necessary credentials to start practicing alternative medicine.

Certificate Programs

Alternative medicine certificate programs are offered at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Undergraduate certificate programs typically provide a short series of introductory courses in foundational alternative medicine topics. Graduate certificate programs allow working professionals to pursue advanced coursework without having to commit to a full master's degree. These programs may be available online, which is particularly convenient for full-time workers.

Alternative medicine programs are available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Since alternative medicine encompasses so many different specialties, prospective students consider program curriculum when choosing between schools.

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