Career Definition for a Natural Healing Practitioner
Natural healing practitioners practice what is broadly referred to as natural medicine (sometimes called alternative medicine). There are various specialties within natural medicine, including acupuncture, herbal medicine, homeopathic medicine, massage therapy, reflexology, aromatherapy, and many others. Natural healing practitioners' duties include evaluating patients, diagnosing illnesses and diseases, discussing treatment options, providing treatment, and other duties as needed.
|Massage Therapist||Acupuncturist||Chiropractor||Naturopathic Physician|
|Education||High school diploma or training program||Master's or doctoral degree||Doctoral degree||Doctoral degree|
|Job Skills||Attentiveness||Business skills||Empathy||Communication, able to discuss treatment options|
|Median Salary (2017)*||$39,990||$73,830 (health diagnosing and treating practitioners, all other)||$68,640||$73,830 (health diagnosing and treating practitioners, all other)|
|Job Growth (2016-2026)*||26%||13% (health diagnosing and treating practitioners, all other)||12%||13% (health diagnosing and treating practitioners, all other)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The educational and licensing requirements to become a natural healing practitioner will vary by your chosen specialty and state of residence. You may be able to practice massage therapy or with a high school diploma and the completion of a one- or two-year training program. However, becoming an acupuncturist, homeopathic medicine practitioner, or naturopathic medicine practitioner may require a four-year bachelor's degree and a professional, master's, or naturopathic medicine degree; you should find the certifying or licensing association that governs your specialty for more information. Common coursework to become a natural healing practitioner includes herbal and naturopathic medicine, anatomy, physiology, and botany.
Natural healing practitioners, though they do not have a medical degree, are responsible for caring for and treating patients; they should be attentive, empathetic, and able to effectively discuss treatment options with their patients. Because many natural healing practitioners own their own practices, a thorough understanding of business and management principles will also be helpful.
Employment and Economic Outlook
The employment outlook for health care, which is the wider field that includes natural medicine, is good; the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment growth of about 18% for health care practitioners from 2016-2026. Typical earnings for natural healing practitioners will vary by their specialty: according to the BLS, naturopathic physicians and acupuncturists earned a median salary of $73,830 in 2017, chiropractors earned $68,640, and massage therapists earned $39,990.
Alternate Career Options
Listed below are some other career choices in wellness:
A dietitian is also concerned with health and wellness and promotes those concepts through healthy eating. They use their knowledge of nutrition to teach people how to make meal choices that improve their health or reach a goal, like training for a physical event or weight loss. They may develop meal plans for institutions, like hospitals, or work with individuals seeking to make changes in response to health issues. Dietitians usually hold a bachelor's degree in the field, and some states have licensing or certification requirements. Dietitians may have to earn the Registered Dietitian (RD) designation for employment. The BLS predicts that jobs will increase by 15% from 2016-2026 for dietitians and nutritionists. The agency also reports that dietitians and nutritionists earned median pay of $59,410 in 2017.
A fitness trainer provides instruction on how to perform exercises properly and safely. They may work one on one with someone to help them meet a specific goal, like weight loss or marathon training. Fitness trainers also work with groups, leading exercise classes. Fitness trainers also provide clients with overall health and wellness information that supports fitness and exercise activities. Training and certification requirements vary by specialty and employer; some employers also give first consideration to candidates with a college degree in exercise science or a related field. First aid certification may also be required. Fitness trainer jobs are predicted by the BLS to increase 10% from 2016-2026, as fast as average. The agency also reports that fitness trainers earned median pay of $39,210 in 2017.