Colleges and universities that offer herbal medicine courses, diploma and certificate programs online are rare. These programs can be completed in a fixed time, but they don't generally include general education requirements or clinicals. When choosing a degree program that includes courses in herbal medicine, consider your career goals and check with your state to find out about any licensing or certification requirements.
Some alternative on-campus educational programs include:
- Certificate in Complementary and Alternative Medicine
- Certificate in Holistic Healthcare
- Associate's degree in holistic health
- Bachelor's degree in herbal science
- Bachelor's degree in health and wellness
- Master's degree in acupuncture and Oriental medicine
- Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine degree
Herbal Medicine Diploma
This program focuses on the education of herbal medicine principles for the working professional. Students who enroll in this type of degree program often come from career fields such as psychology, social work, clinical medicine or pharmacy. The program covers topics like holistic healing, human anatomy and basic medical terminology. In addition, students gain a basic understanding of the business side of holistic medicine. Upon completion of the diploma program in herbal medicine, graduates hold the title of master herbalist.
Information and Requirements
Students can expect to enroll in around 40 credit hours of work. This type of program can generally be completed within a fixed period of five years or less. Schools often recommend a minimum weekly study period, but don't have strict requirements due to an understanding that enrolled students are also working professionals. Students can find these programs available entirely online but, as stated above, they are more readily available entirely on campus.
Students enrolled in the online programs must have access to a computer that has high-speed Internet. It is also helpful if the computer has an updated operating system and Web browser.
Herbal Medicine Diploma Courses
Courses are asynchronous, meaning they can be taken at any time. There are no general education requirements.
Herbal Medicine Materials
Students can expect to enroll in multiple courses that increase exponentially in the depth of specific herbal studies. The courses cover the various botanicals used in holistic treatments and students gain an increasing understanding of each botanical's application. Herbal classifications include diuretic, cathartic, astringent and alternative.
Enrollment in this course will give the student an understanding of how to market to potential clients, open a business and communicate with others within the herbal medicine industry. In addition, the course talks about complying with regulations specified by the student's respective local government.
This course covers the history and cultivation of the use of herbal medicine in holistic healing. Students also gain a basic understanding of the various applications of therapeutic botanical herbs.
Career Information for Graduates
The diploma can lead to a career as a clinical herbalist, herbal consultant or herbal products marketer. According to the American Herbalist Guild, the average annual income of an herbalist can range from $20,000 to $120,000 (www.americanherbalistguild.com). Some master herbalists work directly with physicians in helping to diagnose and treat patients. The same source states that a large number of herbalists earn an income working as consultants, teachers and writers for herbal products.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) did not publish job growth or salary statistics specifically for herbalists as of November 2016. The BLS projected job growth of 17%, faster than the average for all occupations, for health diagnosing and treating practitioners in general from 2014-2024. As of May 2015, the BLS reported these practitioners earned a median annual salary of $74,710.
Continuing Education Information
There are graduate-level certificate programs available for those who wish to pursue a more in-depth education, but they are rarely possible online. These certificate programs are designed for those who already work as master herbalists and have a desire to further their knowledge. There are also master's-level alternative medicine degree programs available that incorporate herbal medicine into the curriculum.
Although fully online degree programs in herbal medicine are relatively hard to find, they do exist. They typically don't include general educational requirements, though, so students should be sure to check their state's requirements for licensure and certification before pursuing online options in herbal medicine.