Alternative medicine programs can provide insight into many non-traditional healthcare fields and cross-cultural philosophies. Read on to learn more about topics covered in these programs and about the programs themselves, including degrees offered, class format options, and post-graduate career opportunities.
Find schools that offer these popular programs
If you would like a career as a healer you may choose to enroll in a course of study at an alternative medical center or an online alternative medicine program. These programs typically provide a non-Western approach to healthcare and wellness. A broad overview of various disciplines (encompassing physical techniques like acupuncture or chiropractics and mental techniques such as hypnosis) may be provided, or programs may emphasize a specific discipline like massage therapy.
Both undergraduate and graduate programs are available, with online courses also offered in some cases. Graduate programs leading to a diploma or certificate are more typically designed for individuals who seek advanced study in a particular field and who may already be working in the field at hand. Depending on the program, you may be completing a 15- to 20-credit curriculum that is possibly finished in months or undertaking a full-time undergraduate schedule.
More information on your options can be found below.
Programs At a Glance
Bachelor of Arts in Complementary and Alternative Health
- The BA is an undergraduate degree, with both traditional and online programs available.
- A high school diploma is the primary prerequisite for most programs.
Integrative Medicine Research Certificate
- Graduate-level study is offered for this program.
- Online and on-campus programs can be found, but all programs generally require an essay, a resume, and a copy of license/certification, among more common educational prerequisites.
Coursework in Alternative Medicine Adult School Programs
Adult school programs in alternative medicine consist of coursework in a variety of areas. Topics include introduction to alternative medicine, body-based therapies, and natural therapies. Other areas are acupuncture, hypnosis, Chinese medicine, and Reiki. In addition, students will compare and contrast alternative medicine forms with more traditional medical practices, developing an understanding of disease causality and treatment methods. Many courses will hold a multicultural, holistic philosophy that emphasizes the integration of body, mind and soul.
Courses, particularly in graduate school, are designed to provide students with a comprehensive foundation of knowledge and subsequent success on pertinent licensure exams. Practical hands-on experiences are integrated into the curriculum, and a premium is placed on job search aids in many program courses. Research-intensive classes are an additional major component of graduate courses, especially in integrative medicine. For more general programs, students will typically complete required basic courses in the beginning and delve into focused electives for upper-level courses.
Salaries vary widely from practitioner to practitioner, depending on specialty and geographic location. There hasn't been much information collected as to average salaries in the field of alternative medicine, so if you'd like to get a feel for what you could make as a practitioner of any particular specialty you would do well to contact other practitioners in the field and, if possible, in your area. Prospects in the field of alternative medicine are good and getting better, though, as more insurance companies are underwriting some of the cost to seekers of alternative medical treatment.
Alternative medicine students may pursue certificates or degrees in complementary and alternative health or integrative medicine. Courses can include instruction on specific topics in alternative medicine as well as research and hands-on training opportunities.