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Career Definition for an Energy-Based Therapist
Energy-based therapy falls under the category of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), which is a group of diverse medical practices not generally considered to be part of conventional medicine.
Energy-based therapies fall into two categories. Bioelectromagnetic therapy involves the unconventional use of electromagnetic fields, such as magnets. Biofield therapy includes QiGong, Reiki, and therapeutic touch, and involves placing the hands in or through personal energy fields called chakras to improve blood flow and thus heal. Energy therapy is typically used for conditions such as chronic pain, cancer, and anxiety, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
|Education||Associate, bachelor's and master's degrees available, certificate programs also exist|
|Job Skills||Empathy, communication, business skills|
|Median Salary (2017)||$53,850 for alternative therapists|
|Job Growth (2016-2026)||20% for alternative therapists|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Educational requirements are highly dependent upon employer and area of specialty. Hospital-affiliated integrative medicine programs generally require practitioners to hold a formal healthcare-related degree and any required licensing - for example, the qualifications for working as a nurse - in addition to an energy therapy education or training.
Most formal programs are offered through holistic medical schools. These typically result in a health science degree at either the associate, bachelor's or master's degree level with a specialization in energy healing. Traditional universities and colleges have also recently begun to offer such programs. In these programs, students study human anatomy and physiology, chakras, and the mind-body connection. They then pursue specialized energy healing therapy coursework, according to the Consortium of Academic Health Centers in Integrative Medicine.
Certificate programs are available through various alternative medicine centers, which explore less evidence-based energy practices such as mind clarity and vibrational balance. Most graduates of these programs operate private practices.
One must embrace a holistic approach to medicine and show empathy for sometimes frustrated patients who have sought energy therapy treatment only after exhausting all other options. Excellent communications skills are needed to work with patients and business skills are needed for energy based therapists interested in operating their own practices.
Career and Economic Outlook
Opportunities for skilled practitioners of energy-based healing therapy may grow as Americans continue to embrace the mind-body connection and seek complementary approaches to health. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that among specialty and alternative therapists, the median annual salary was $53,850 in 2017, with a much higher than faster than average increase of 20% in jobs expected for 2016-2026.
Alternative Career Options
Listed below are some more career choices in natural medicine:
A naturopathic physician takes a holistic approach to provide healthcare for patients, with an emphasis on natural healing. They discuss patients' health histories, perform physical exams, and make diagnoses. They advise patients about ways to improve and maintain good health, recommend homeopathic treatments for health conditions, and refer patients to other doctors when necessary. State licensing requirements vary, although completion of a 4-year graduate Naturopathic Doctor (N.D.) program, exams, and demonstrated work experience may be required; states may also regulate what kind of healthcare naturopathic physicians are legally able to provide. The BLS reports that naturopathic physicians can look forward to job growth of 13% from 2016-2026 and that the median salary for this job was $73,830 in 2017.
A chiropractor has completed a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree program and earned a state license to provide hands-on healthcare treatments to patients with the goal of remedying bone, muscle, nerve, tendon, and ligament problems. Chiropractors talk to patients about their condition, make a diagnosis and establish a treatment plan, and use their hands to manipulate and adjust the spine and joints to alleviate pain. They take a holistic approach to healthcare and may also make lifestyle or nutrition recommendations to their patients. In addition to their degree and state license, chiropractors are required to take the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners exam. Chiropractors can expect employment growth of 12% from 2016-2026, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The agency also reports that chiropractors earned median pay of $68,640 in 2017.