Herbalism, or herbal medicine, is the study of how to use herbs, plants and botanical extracts for medicinal purposes. In these programs, students study both herbal remedies and modern medicinal treatments through rigorous coursework and a real-world internship. As a result, the program trains students to bridge the gap between traditional and non-traditional medicine and science. In order to apply, students need a bachelor's degree and a strong scientific background.
Master of Science in Herbalism
Many herbalism programs emphasize advanced studies in herbology and Eastern medicine. After finishing a basic set of required courses, students can choose elective courses such as biophysics, pulse diagnosis and acupuncture. Core herbal medicine courses cover the following topics:
- Theories of traditional medicine
- Herbal prescription writing
- Ethics and law
- Non-traditional and Eastern medical practices
Popular Career Options
With a master's degree in herbalism, students can choose from a wide range of careers in the field, including the following:
- Herbal consultant
- Herbology educator
- Herb cultivator
- Herbal retailer/business owner
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of health educators and community health workers is expected to grow 13 percent between 2014 and 2024, which is faster than the national average for all occupations. The median annual salary for these workers was $43,840 per year in 2015. Health diagnosing and treating practitioners are expected to see job growth of 17 percent from 2014 to 2024.
Professional Advancement and Continuing Education
Graduates of herbal medicine programs can pursue professional membership in the American Herbalists Guild (AHG). Membership in the organization can enhance their professional networking capabilities, and members may attend herbalist conferences and symposiums at a discounted rate. In order to renew membership, professionals must take 20 credit hours of coursework every two years. This requirement can be fulfilled by attending AHG symposiums and college seminars, conducting herbalism research, or engaging in independent study.
Alternatively, students who finish master's degrees in herbalism can pursue a Ph.D. in a related field, such as botany, or pursue a traditional medical degree.
Overall, a master's degree in herbalism provides students with the rigorous interdisciplinary training they need for high level careers in the field.