Programs related to herbal medicine prepare students for potential careers in herbal therapy, education, counseling or other fields of alternative medicine. Students interested in entering in a degree program in this field may enroll in a master's degree program in herbal medicine. Students will need to have a bachelor's degree in a related field, or will at least need to have taken relevant courses in biology, anatomy, chemistry, or psychology.
Master's in Herbal Medicine
A master's degree in herbal medicine is designed to teach students about clinical herbalism. Students can then apply this knowledge in their career, allowing them to help patients achieve a healthy mind, spirit and body. These programs focus on a holistic approach to treating medical problems. They have a curriculum that incorporates instruction in herbal therapy. Courses in nutritional biology and herbal pharmacology, along with clinical practice, give students a solid foundation of the skills and knowledge needed for employment. Some common course topics include the following:
- Herbal pharmacology
- Human anatomy
- Organic and biochemistry
- Chinese herbal therapy
Popular Career Options
Graduates of an herbal medicine degree program are not licensed doctors and do not work in hospitals or medical offices, but instead work primarily on a freelance basis or in other non-medical careers in education, counseling, retail or manufacturing. Graduates are also often trained in other areas of alternative medicine, such as massage therapy, acupuncture or yoga. Some popular career options include:
- Herbal therapist
- Massage therapist
- Life coach
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), massage therapists could expect job growth of 22%, much faster than the average for all occupations, from 2018-2028. The BLS reports a mean annual wage of $45,880 as of May 2018 for massage therapists. The BLS projected that health diagnosing and treating practitioners could expect job growth of 13% from 2018-2028. As of May 2018, the BLS reports that health diagnosing and treating practitioners in general earn a mean annual wage of $85,600.
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Although it certification is not required to work in herbal medicine, professional certification is available from organizations such as the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). Graduates a herbal medicine master's degree program are typically prepared to sit for national exams in acupuncture and oriental medicine, which include both a written exam and practical exam. Certification ensures that students are up to national safety and competency standards as set by the industry.
Students in these programs take courses in herbal pharmacology, nutrition, or organic chemistry and biochemistry. Graduates of master's degree programs in herbal medicine may take jobs in herbal therapy, counseling or other alternative medicine fields.