Here we discuss counselor and practitioner programs in natural health. We also explore common course topics, certification and career information.
Natural health is increasingly important to more and more people these days, as they realize that in order to enjoy lifelong good health you need to focus on 'the whole person' and make important lifestyle choices. One of these choices is to seek alternative medical treatment when ill; some popular treatments include herbal therapy, massage therapy, homeopathy, chiropractic treatment and acupuncture. If you are interested in learning more about any or all of these natural healing techniques, or about natural health in general, you can find programs and courses offered at colleges and universities or at special alternative medicine centers. After completing a program, you might also pursue certification. Some of these programs may be offered online for those with full-time jobs.
Programs At a Glance
Natural Health Counselor Certification
- This 1-year program requires a high school diploma or GED.
- The program is available online.
Natural Health Practitioner Certification
- This program also requires a diploma or GED and can be completed in 12-18 months.
- This program is offered on-campus.
Coursework for Natural Health Programs
A wide variety of study programs and courses in natural health are available, should you wish to pursue this study with an eye to making natural healing your career. Core courses often cover broad topics in anatomy and physiology, chemistry and nutrition. Many programs include coursework to prepare practitioners for running their own businesses. Courses typically range from 1-4 credits. Some of the topics you can study include:
- Naturopathic medicine
- Oriental medicine
- Nutritional counseling
- Health psychology
- Exercise science
- Herbal first aid
- Energy medicine
- Digestive wellness
In addition to completing courses or a program in natural health, you can pursue certification. This credential is suitable for those interested in helping others with the natural healing arts. In addition to completing the appropriate curriculum, you will also have to accept the organization's ethical code, pay a registration fee and pay a membership renewal fee. It's important to note that you won't be able to diagnose or treat illnesses with this credential alone as you will also need a medical license.
There are many careers available for a practitioner of natural health and healing. You could be a dietician or exercise specialist, and as such could pursue a career with a spa or perhaps a rehabilitation center or even work with a professional sports team. If you love babies, you could choose to work as a doula or a midwife or perhaps a lactation consultant to promote and encourage nursing (the most natural method of feeding an infant). You could be a chiropractor, a massage therapist or an acupuncturist. If you like to work with herbs, you could grow them, use them to make herbal medicine or instruct others in the use of such medicines - or perhaps all three.
Career Prospects & Salary
Opportunities continue to grow for those employed in the field of natural health, as more and more people are interested in exploring alternatives to traditional medicine. In fact, these days, many patients may be sent to natural healers by their own doctors - and, best of all, natural healing treatments may even be covered by their health care plans! Natural healers are showing that they can work together with practitioners of traditional medicine to promote the very healthiest of lifestyles, and that is good news for everyone.
While the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't provide salary information on natural health practitioners, it does have salary information for specific types of professionals, including nurse midwives, chiropractors, massage therapists and dietitians. As of May 2016, the median wage was $67,520 for chiropractors and $39,860 for massage therapists. Nurse midwives had a median wage of $99,770, while dietitians and nutritionists had $58,920.
Students interested in studying natural health can pursue various kinds of certifications in the field, some of which are offered online for adult learners. Graduates of these programs may need to pursue professional certification in the field, and, with additional education, can work a variety of jobs, such as midwives, massage therapists and more.