If you're a herbalist looking to advance your career, then obtaining a consulting herbalist certification may a good move. These programs are typically made up of graduate level courses that often require a master's degree as a prerequisite.
Herbalist consultants can earn voluntary certification, but only a few organizations offer professional credentialing in this field, such as the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). Qualifying for certification may involve earning a master's degree and/or completing an apprenticeship in herbology. To help prepare for this certification, some colleges offer herbal certificate programs that explore the use of medicinal plants.
|Required Education||Master's degree required for NCCAOM certification|
|Required Experience||Apprenticeship program may substitute for some or all of the formal education requirements|
|Exam Requirements||Candidates for NCCAOM certification must pass exams in biomedicine, Chinese herbology and Oriental medicine|
Herbalist Certificate Programs
Students in herbalist certificate programs learn how medicinal plants are used to maintain or improve well-being and prevent health problems. Admission requirements for herbalist certificate programs vary; some require students to have at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited school, and others don't have any prerequisites. Graduate certificate programs may provide students with credit hours that can be transferred into master's degree programs. Some certificate programs last a few weeks, while others can last a year or longer.
While participating in an herbalist certificate program, students can learn about the history of herbal medicine, botany and taxonomy. Students become familiar with the herbal materia medica, which outlines various herbs and their functions. Some programs also teach basic biology, anatomy and physiology. Schools may have herb gardens where students can learn to identify and cultivate herbs. Other course topics include extraction methods, dosage and how to make herbal products.
Additional Education Options
Some colleges and universities offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in herbal studies. Undergraduate degree programs typically cover much of the same curriculum as herbal certificate programs but in greater depth. Master's programs in oriental medicine or herbalism are often 3-4 years in length and include clinical experiences.
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine offers voluntary certification in Chinese herbal medicine (www.nccaom.org). Individuals who hold this certification are called Diplomates of Chinese Herbology. Eligible candidates have attended a master's-level program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and received a specific number of credit hours in oriental medicine, biomedicine and Chinese herbology. In some cases, candidates may also meet certification eligibility requirements by completing a qualified apprenticeship or some formal education along with an apprenticeship.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't have job data specifically for herbalists, but it does publish data about all health diagnosing and treating practitioners in general. According to the BLS, the average salary among all professionals in this field was $97,030 as of 2015. Job opportunities for all health diagnosing and treating practitioners were projected to increase 17% during the 2014-2024 decade, which is faster than average.
Certification as a herbalist generally requires a master's degree or, in some instances, completion of an apprenticeship program. Certificate programs can help herbalists prepare for the NCCAOM certification exam through courses in botany and the types and uses of herbs in medicine.