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Careers in Ayurveda: Career Options, Job Duties and Requirements

Training in Ayurveda typically covers how to administer the treatments of this Indian healing practice. Find out about the requirements of these programs, and learn about career options, job growth and salary info for Ayurveda graduates.

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Ayurvedic medicine draws on ancient Indian practices and provides holistic treatment for the body and mind. Massage therapists must complete a number of prerequisites--including training, licensure, and/or certification--before entering an expanding field.

Essential Information

Ayurveda is a classical Indian healing practice that involves maintaining balance in the body and mind through various whole-body treatments. Formal degree programs are available in India, but the National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA) also keeps a list of formal training and certification programs available in the States. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), there is currently no licensing requirements within the U.S. to regulate the use of Ayurvedic medicine, but there is data to support that several healthcare practitioners, such as midwives and massage therapists, pursue training in this field. There are other career paths for Ayurvedic practitioners, and individuals can find that information through such organizations as NAMA.

Career Titles Massage Therapist Nurse Midwife
Education Requirements Completion of vocational training program Master's degree
Other Requirements State licensure or certification Be a licensed registered nurse;
Pass additional state-approved certification exams
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) +22%* +25%*
Average Salary (2015) $43,170* $93,610*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Options

Massage Therapist

Ayurvedic practitioners assess a patient's 'dosha,' or energy type, to determine the proper foods, exercise, herbs, breathing exercises and other holistic healthcare regimens. Most Ayurvedic massage therapists provide wellness support through health spa treatments that usually include several forms of specialized massage. Massage therapists may work one-on-one with clients, or they may work at spa treatment centers, alternative medicine clinics, or massage parlors.

Prior to specializing in Ayurvedic massage, massage therapists must complete general training, which according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) may take 500 hours or more. Massage therapy students learn about human anatomy, muscles, injuries, and general massage techniques. They also participate in clinical hands-on training sessions. Practically every state requires massage therapists to be certified or licensed in accordance with state guidelines. Besides completing state-approved training programs, individuals will most likely have to pass exams to gain licensure. After becoming licensed massage therapists, professionals can pursue additional training in Ayurvedic massage techniques.

Nurse Midwife

According to the BLS, these professionals are also known as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). Nurse midwives deal exclusively with women who are planning to get pregnant or who are already pregnant. Midwives provide healthcare education, perform gynecological exams, assist woman during delivery, and provide care to mothers and newborns. As a specialty type of registered nurse, these professionals require additional education, and, according to the BLS, APRNs usually hold master's degrees in their field of specialty. Prior to entering graduate studies, however, individuals must already be licensed registered nurses. The licensure process for registered nurses includes meeting education requirements and passing national exams. APRN licensure varies per state.

Not all nurse midwives use Ayurvedic medicine, but as more Westerners become interested in the use of alternative medicine with pregnancy and childbirth, it has become more common for nurse midwives to pursue training in various alternative medicine fields, including Ayurvedic medicine. The NCCAM has indicated that many healthcare practitioners, including nurse midwives, have sought out training in Ayurvedic medicine.

Job Outlook and Salary Statistics

The BLS does not have any data that specifically monitors the job outlook or salary statistics of Ayurveda practitioners. However, there is data available for each of the career titles listed above. During the decade between 2014 and 2024, the BLS predicts that available positions for massage therapists will increase by 22%. Within that same decade, the BLS estimates that nurse midwives will see a 25% increase in available job opportunities. As of 2015, the BLS reported that the annual average salary for massage therapists was $43,170. Records from that same year indicated nurse midwives received annual average salaries of $93,610.

Ayurveda is an ancient form of medicine that works with people's energy and implements natural healing techniques. Proficiency as an Ayurveda practitioner requires extensive training, however there are ways to use Ayurveda training to supplement an existing career, as a nurse midwife, for example. Jobs in this field are on the rise in the next several years--growing much faster than average.

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