The title of holistic practitioner can encompass a variety of different career paths. Some such careers involve becoming a massage therapist, a physician or surgeon. Holistic medicine indicates a focus on the overall factors affecting a patient's health. The educational requirements for holistic practitioners varies widely from position to position, but typically involve obtaining a postsecondary degree.
Holistic medicine emphasizes treatment of the whole person, taking social, environmental, and spiritual aspects into account rather than focusing exclusively on physical symptoms. Holistic medicine combines Western medicine with Eastern treatment. Holistic practitioners require certification or licensing and, in some instances, completion of a postsecondary degree program.
|Required Education||Variable; completion of postsecondary degree programs in massage therapy, hypnotherapy, reflexology or traditional and complementary medicine|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*|| 12% for health diagnosing & treating practitioners
22% for massage therapists
14% for physicians & surgeons
|Mean Annual Salary (May 2015)*|| $85,120 for health diagnosing & treating practitioners
$43,170 for massage therapists
$187,200 for physicians & surgeons
Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics
Holistic Practitioner Salary
Income of holistic practitioners varies depending on specialty and levels of education and experience. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that massage therapists, for example, earned a mean salary of $43,170 annually as of May 2015. The BLS also notes that health diagnosing and treating practitioners not specified as traditionally trained physicians and surgeons earned a mean annual salary of $85,120.
Physicians who completed a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree program, which includes holistic techniques, had a median annual income of $140,211, according to data compiled by PayScale.com in January 2016. According to the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC), full-time naturopathic medical professionals earn an average net income of $90,000 annually.
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Requirements for Holistic Practitioners
Holistic practitioners require at least a high school or equivalent diploma to be eligible for a specialized training program, such as hypnotherapy or reflexology. These programs prepare students for a state's required licensure or certification programs. Coursework can include aromatherapy, hypnotherapy, and holistic nutrition in addition to standard medical courses, such as anatomy.
Some licensure and certification programs can require postsecondary education. The American Holistic Nurses Certification Corporation requires students to complete at least an associate's degree in nursing to be eligible. The American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine certification requires a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degree plus relevant work experience.
Holistic Practitioner Career Information
According to a 2007 study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 40% of Americans use complementary and alternative medicine. This includes acupuncture, massage therapy, and other holistic treatments. According to the BLS, general employment in healthcare was projected to increase from 2014-2024. The BLS also projected specialty positions to grow. For example, massage therapy jobs were projected to increase at a faster-than-average pace of 22% over the same time period.
Those who wish to go into one of the many career fields involved with holistic medicine should carefully consider their options in order to choose the educational path best suited for their goals. They should also consider any licensing or certification requirements within the state they intend to work.