Top Schools with Alternative Medical Support Programs

Alternative medical support programs can include studies in herbal, mineral and vitamin therapies, acupuncture, chiropractic manipulation and massage. Awards can range from occupational certificates to undergraduate degrees.

School Overviews

The four schools profiled below include two community colleges and two universities. They are notable in that their programs cover a wide range of topics related to alternative medicine.

Ivy Tech Community College, Fort Wayne, IN

School Highlight: Massage therapy programs include business courses and prepare students for state licensure exams.

The Northeast campus of Ivy Tech Community College offers both a certificate and an associate degree program in therapeutic massage. These programs cover multiple skills and techniques, including sports, orthopedic, prenatal, deep tissue and hydrotherapy massage. The massage therapy certificate takes three semesters to complete and includes 700 hours of training; the associate degree program takes four semesters and has 1,000 hours of training. Core classes include topics in massage techniques, deep tissue therapy, holistic approaches and biomechanics.

Red Rocks Community College, Lakewood, CO

School Highlight: The program covers all aspects of body-mind experience.

Red Rocks Community College offers a certificate and associate degree in holistic health, through which students learn about various complementary healing techniques. Once enrolled, students take courses in herbology, aromatherapy, Jin Shin and dance therapy. They can also study meditation, journaling and personal coaching. The college also offers a certificate in reflexology and classes in art and healing, minerals and crystals, Reiki and stress management.

Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA

School Highlight: The bachelor's degree in herbal sciences was the first program of this type offered at an accredited institution.

Bastyr University offers a Bachelor of Science in Herbal Sciences which can be completed in two years of full-time study. In general, the curriculum prepares students for graduate work in pharmacology, nutrition, acupuncture and Oriental medicine. While the program does not qualify students to treat patients, it can provide them with the background they need to work in the vitamin and mineral supplement or cosmetics industries. Graduates might also find positions as quality assurance specialists.

University of New Mexico in Rancho de Taos, NM

School Highlight: The school offers a program in medical massage and integrative health, which covers topics such as yoga, tai qi, herbology and Ayurveda.

At UNM-Taos, students can earn an associate or bachelor's degree in integrative health. The school also offers a certificate in integrative massage therapy and a holistic studies and healing arts practitioner (yoga instructor) certificate. Graduates have the educational background necessary to apply for state licensure and begin working in the field.

Top Alternative Medicine Schools

Alternative medicine studies are also available at the following institutions:

  • At the Academy for Five Element Acupuncture, in Gainesville, FL, the Chinese herbal program explores Eight-Principle Zang/Fu treatment and diagnosis models.
  • Cleveland Chiropractic College in Overland Park, KS, has been educating students for more than 80 years.
  • Life University in Marietta, GA, is the largest chiropractic college in the world.
  • Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner, MA, offers a degree program in complementary healthcare with a concentration in yoga teacher training.
  • Paradise Valley Community College in Phoenix, AZ, provides a focus on Afro-Asian Martial and Healing Arts.

Whether students want to get a broad overview of alternative medicine or pursue a specific aspect of the field, there are postsecondary institutions around the country that offer relevant coursework and hands-on training.

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