Also offered as complementary or wellness medicine studies, alternative medicine bachelor's programs teach students investigative techniques, critical-thinking skills, natural healing arts, herbology, and nutrition. Prospective students need a high school diploma or GED certificate for admission to the 4-year program. They also need to meet minimum grade point average requirements. Hands-on training and internships are available.
Bachelor's Degree in Alt Medicine
Alternative medicine is a term for medical practices not falling under traditional Western medical care provided by licensed doctors, registered nurses, or physical therapists. This medicine utilizes natural healing practices to promote holistic health and wellness. Alternative medicine replaces standard medical treatments or works in tandem with them.
Individuals pursuing a bachelor's degree in alternative medicine study topics in behavioral science and standard health care as well as theories and principles of alternative treatments, such as American medicine, energy healing, massage, naturopathy, and Chinese medicine. Course topics include:
- Feng Shui and meditation
- Ayurvedic medicine
- Naturopathy and herbal medicine
- Stress reduction and acupuncture
- Therapeutic massage and global health
Popular Career Options
A bachelor's degree in alternative medicine qualifies individuals for entry-level work as assistants in alternative medicine practices such as chiropractic, acupuncturist or naturopathic physicians' offices. They could become representatives in the health and wellness industry or in an employee-assistance program.
Individuals could also work for social assistance programs and at health and fitness companies. Graduates might obtain special certification in alternative medicine, acquire state licensure or pursue advanced degrees to improve their career opportunities, which could include but are not limited to:
- Massage therapist
- Reiki master
- Yoga instructor
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not generally report about careers in alternative medicine, it does provide career and salary information about massage therapists and fitness instructors, which could include those that teach yoga. The most recent employment figures supplied by the BLS indicate that massage therapists could experience 22% growth from 2014 to 2024, while fitness instructors could see 8% growth over the same time period (www.bls.gov). As of May 2015, according to the BLS, massage therapists made a median annual wage of $38,040 and fitness trainers and instructors earned $36,160.
O*Net OnLine reports that acupuncturists are projected to see a 9% to 13% increase in job opportunities from 2014 to 2024. These workers earned a median annual salary of $74,710 in 2015, says O*Net.
Continuing Education Information
Graduates seeking continuing education might consider pursuing medical or nursing school to enhance their practical skills and employment options. Professionals with a bachelor's degree could also apply to a master's degree program in alternative medicine. Advanced study could prepare them to work in alternative medicine careers, such as homeopathy, acupuncture, holistic nursing or holistic veterinary medicine. Many of these occupations require ongoing continuing education and licensure, which vary by state.
A bachelor's degree program in alternative medicine provides students with the training needed to aid practitioners of alternative medicine and other professions related to the non-traditional Western forms of healthcare.