Master of Arts (MA): Holistic Wellness Degree Overview

The goal of a holistic health studies program is to teach students about the concepts and ideas of alternative healing. Learn about the master's degree program, coursework, job outlook and certification options.

Essential Information

A holistic health studies master's degree program is designed for individuals who want advanced study in the area of alternative and holistic health practices and general concepts. Students are introduced to the philosophy of mind-body healing and health, and they learn about the science behind holistic practices. Students can also conduct a research study on a particular topic of interest. Upon completing a program, individuals understand how to use holistic methods as a complementary medical approach.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree and must meet program specific GPA requirements.


Master of Arts in Holistic Health

This degree program teaches students about a wide variety of holistic health practices including practices involving herbology and energy healing. Additionally, students learn how the utilization of different mental techniques such as relaxation, meditation and spirituality can have positive effects on overall health. Other general course topics include:

  • Holistic wellness
  • Alternative approaches to healthcare
  • Mind/body interaction
  • Alternative nutritional approaches
  • Healing methods
  • Holistic counseling

Popular Career Options

Graduates of a master's degree program in holistic healing studies may already be working in medical-related fields and use this program to enhance their current careers. Individuals may use a holistic studies degree to complement past degrees earned. Possible holistic health careers available to those who've earned a master's degree in this field include:

  • Community college teacher of holistic health
  • Research assistant
  • Health consultant/coach in private practice

A graduate's eligibility for these and other careers depends on the area in which the individual has earned a bachelor's degree, and some of these careers may require additional preparation.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't provide information specifically for holistic wellness educators or health consultants, health educators were projected to see a 12% growth in employment from 2014 to 2024. The average salary for these workers was $56,690 in May 2015.

Continuing Education Information

Individuals may consider voluntary certifications in the field of holistic health. Certifications are usually available based on the career field. For example, certifications are available for nurses, nutrition specialists and doctors. Continuing education may also be considered in fields such as holistic fitness.

Nursing

The American Holistic Nurses' Certification Corporation (AHNCC) offers certification options for nurses practicing holistic care methods. The AHNCC offers the Holistic Nurse, Board Certified (HN-BC), Holistic Baccalaureate Nurse, Board Certified (HNB-BC) and the Advanced Holistic Nurse, Board Certified (AHN-BC) designations (www.ahncc.org). To be eligible for the HN-BC, a person must have a diploma or associate degree in nursing. The HNB-BC requires a bachelor's degree, and an AHN-BC requires a master's degree in nursing. For all certifications, a person needs a current nursing license, experience working as a holistic nurse for one year or 2,000 hours in the previous five years and 48 hours of continuing education in holistic nursing within the previous two years.

Nutrition

The Holistic Nutrition Credentialing Board, a part of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP), offers board certification for those in this field (www.nanp.org). To become board certified, a person must meet the NANP's educational requirements, be a member of the NANP, provide proof of 500 hours experience in holistic nutrition and pass an examination. Those who have graduated from an approved program in the last 12 months have two years from the examination date to complete the 500 hours of experience requirement.

Fitness

The American Council on Exercise offers a holistic fitness specialty continuing education course (www.acefitness.org). The course covers holistic health techniques and protocols.

Medicine

The American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine (ABIHM) offers board certification for doctors (www.abihm.org). To become board certified, a doctor must pass the board exam and provide proof of an active medical license or board certification and a personal essay.

A Master of Arts in Holistic Health teaches students about natural and holistic approaches to health and allows students to focus their studies in a particular area of interest. Graduates can expect positive job growth as health educators, and may choose to pursue additional certification in various areas like nutrition or fitness.


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