Natural Therapist: Job & Career Info

Learn how to become a natural therapist, and see what kind of education and training you need for employment. Find out what the job prospects are to see if this is the right career for you.

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Career Definition for a Natural Therapist

Natural therapists work within the field of health care to provide patients with treatments and medicines based on natural techniques and remedies. Natural therapists can work in a variety of specific fields, including naturopathic medicine, aromatherapy, massage therapy, homeopathic medicine, and many others. Common duties of natural therapists include consulting with clients, assessing clients' needs, discussing treatment options, performing treatments, suggesting herbal and natural medications, monitoring clients, and other duties as needed.

Education High school as a minimum, certificates and degrees available depending on specialty
Job Skills Communication, management,
Median Salary (2015) $27,040 for health care support, $76,760 for practitioners
Job Growth (2014-2024) 23% for health care support, 17% for practitioners

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

While there is no specific educational credential required to work as a natural therapist, if you choose a specialty of natural therapy, there may be a suggested or required license or certification. Regardless of the specialty, a minimum of a high school diploma will be helpful. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) attend a four-year medical school much like traditional ones do, and massage therapists often take one- or two-year certification courses; depending on the services you'll be providing, some states may also require you to be licensed. Common coursework that will help you to become a natural therapist includes anatomy, physiology, naturopathy, homeopathy, medical terminology, and holistic health care.

Skills Required

Natural therapists should be able to communicate well with patients, should be up-to-date with developments in natural therapy, and should be professional. Natural therapists who hope to own their own practice should be well trained in management, business, and administrative techniques.

Employment and Economic Outlook

Natural therapy falls into the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) larger category of health care. The employment outlook for this field is good, with the BLS projecting employment growth of 23% for health care support occupations from 2014-2024 and 17% growth for health diagnosing and treating practitioners. According to the BLS, health care workers who didn't fall into a specific career category earned a median annual wage of $48,270 in May 2015, while natural physicians earned $74,710 at the same time.

Alternative Career Options

Listed below are some other choices in the field of wellness:

Fitness Instructor

Fitness instructors are also interested in developing people's health and wellness through exercise. They evaluate clients and develop exercise plans intended to meet goals, lead group exercise classes, teach people how to do exercises and use fitness equipment properly, and provide relevant health and fitness information. While there are no formal education requirements, many individual areas of fitness have training and certification options. Employers may also prefer candidates with an associate's or bachelor's degree in exercise science and first aid certification. According to the BLS, fitness instructors can expect job growth of 8% from 2014-2024. Fitness instructors earned median pay of $36,160 in 2015, per the BLS.

Recreational Therapist

Recreational therapists perform therapeutic work with patients in settings like hospitals or nursing homes. They use activities like games, art, drama, dancing and crafts to help people address physical and emotional concerns, such as regaining lost mobility or alleviating anxiety. Recreational therapists need a bachelor's degree and the Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) credential for employment. State licensing is also sometimes required. Jobs for recreational therapists are expected to increase 12% from 2014-2024, per the BLS. Recreational therapists earned median pay of $45,890 in 2015, according to the agency.

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