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Natural Healing Practitioner Career Info

Find out what a natural healing practitioner does. See what kind of education and training this job calls for, and learn about the job prospects to decide if this is the right career for you.

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Career Definition for a Natural Healing Practitioner

Natural healing practitioners practice what is broadly referred to as natural medicine (sometimes called alternative medicine). There are various specialties within natural medicine, including acupuncture, herbal medicine, homeopathic medicine, massage therapy, reflexology, aromatherapy, and many others. Natural healing practitioners' duties include evaluating patients, diagnosing illnesses and diseases, discussing treatment options, providing treatment, and other duties as needed.

Massage Therapist Acupuncturist Chiropractor Naturopathic Physician
Education High school diploma or training program Master's or doctoral degree Doctoral degree Doctoral degree
Job Skills Attentiveness Business skills Empathy Communication, able to discuss treatment options
Median Salary (2015) $38,040 $74,710 $64,440 $74,710
Job Growth (2014-2024) 22% 9-13 17% 9-13%

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*Net Online

Required Education

The educational and licensing requirements to become a natural healing practitioner will vary by your chosen specialty and state of residence. You may be able to practice massage therapy or with a high school diploma and the completion of a one- or two-year training program. However, becoming an acupuncturist, homeopathic medicine practitioner, or naturopathic medicine practitioner may require a four-year bachelor's degree and a professional, master's, or naturopathic medicine degree; you should find the certifying or licensing association that governs your specialty for more information. Common coursework to become a natural healing practitioner includes herbal and naturopathic medicine, anatomy, physiology, and botany.

Skills Required

Natural healing practitioners, though they do not have a medical degree, are responsible for caring for and treating patients; they should be attentive, empathetic, and able to effectively discuss treatment options with their patients. Because many natural healing practitioners own their own practices, a thorough understanding of business and management principles will also be helpful.

Employment and Economic Outlook

The employment outlook for health care, which is the wider field that includes natural medicine, is good; the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment growth of about 12% for alternative health care practitioners from 2014-2024. Typical earnings for natural healing practitioners will vary by their specialty: according to the BLS, naturopathic physicians and acupuncturists earned a median salary of $74,710 in 2015, chiropractors earned $64,440, and massage therapists earned $38,040.

Alternate Career Options

Listed below are some other career choices in wellness:

Dietitian

A dietitian is also concerned with health and wellness and promotes those concepts through healthy eating. They use their knowledge of nutrition to teach people how to make meal choices that improve their health or reach a goal, like training for a physical event or weight loss. They may develop meal plans for institutions, like hospitals, or work with individuals seeking to make changes in response to health issues. Dietitians usually hold a bachelor's degree in the field, and some states have licensing or certification requirements. Dietitians may have to earn the Registered Dietitian (RD) designation for employment. The BLS predicts that jobs will increase 16% from 2014-2024 for dietitians. The agency also reports that dietitians earned median pay of $57,910 in 2015.

Fitness Trainer

A fitness trainer provides instruction on how to perform exercises properly and safely. They may work one on one with someone to help him or her meet a specific goal, like weight loss or marathon training. Fitness trainers also work with groups, leading exercise classes. Fitness trainers also provide clients with overall health and wellness information that supports fitness and exercise activities. Training and certification requirements vary by specialty and employer; some employers also give first consideration to candidates with a college degree in exercise science or a related field. First aid certification may also be required. Fitness trainer jobs are predicted by the BLS to increase 8% from 2014-2024, as fast as average. The agency also reports that fitness trainers earned median pay of $36,160 in 2015.

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