Although there are no specific doctoral programs in alternative healing and health, doctoral degree programs in Naturopathic Medicine, Alternative Healing, and Holistic Healing effectively train students in various alternative healing methodologies and practices. In these programs, students explore topics like herbology, reflexology, meditation, and physical exercise. Through lecture-based sessions, clinical training, and ongoing research projects, students learn to treat the whole person rather than just the symptoms of a particular disease. Most programs last four to six years, and graduates are prepared for licensure as naturopathic doctors.
In order to apply, students must hold a bachelor's degree in a scientific discipline and have taken undergraduate coursework in anatomy, biology, chemistry, and psychology. Many programs also require applicants to have previous work experience in the healthcare industry.
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine
In addition to broad training in naturopathic medicine, some programs offer supporting certificates or elective classes in some of the following subjects:
- Traditional Chinese medicine
- Herbal remedies
- Environmental effects on health
- Nutritional needs
- Spiritual health and wellness
- Meditation techniques and practices
An alternative healing and health doctoral program prepares students for work in clinics, health and fitness centers, and retreats. Graduates may also choose to open their own practices. Possible job titles include
- Naturopathic physician
- Private practice physician
- Research scientist
- Natural remedies distributor
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Although it does not provide data specifically for naturopathic physicians, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected job growth of 17% for health diagnosing and treating professions in general, and 14% for physicians and surgeons, from 2014-2024. The BLS reported an average annual salary of $197,700 for physicians and surgeons as of May 2015. Medical scientists can expect job growth of 8% from 2014-2024; as of May 2015, they earned an average annual salary of $82,240.
Job outlook and salary information for natural remedies distributors and herbalists was not available from the BLS. Purchasing managers, buyers and purchasing agents, who share some of the job duties of natural remedies distributors, can expect to see job growth of 1% from 2014-2024. As of May 2015, the BLS reported an average annual salary of $108,120 for purchasing managers.
In summary, students who want to become naturopathic doctors can pursue doctoral degrees related to alternative health and healing. These programs provide broad theoretical and practical training in a wide variety of holistic healing practices.