Complementary therapy, also known as complementary medicine, utilizes nontraditional therapy techniques--like aromatherapy, guided imagery or acupuncture--in combination with traditional healing methods. Complementary therapy programs typically emphasize wellness in a holistic sense, incorporating mind, body and spirit, with program fields including complementary therapy and medicine. This form of therapy is often grouped with alternative medicine, although the two are somewhat different. In general, complementary therapy is used in combination with traditional medicine, while alternative medicine is used in place of it. These programs generally take a minimum of four years to complete.
Bachelor's Degree in Complementary Therapy
Applicants to undergraduate programs in complementary therapy typically must have a high school diploma. Most programs require that applicants submit high school transcripts, standardized test scores, letters of recommendation and personal essays. The strongest applicants may be those with travel experience, traditional medical experience or volunteer experience in alternative medicine. Coursework in bachelor's degree programs in complementary therapy generally includes some hands-on learning, particularly for programs focusing on clinical arts like therapeutic touch or acupuncture. Classes in a complementary therapy curriculum might include the following:
- Mind and body
- Herbal medicine
- Antioxidants and nutrition
Salary Information and Employment Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) reports that employment of physicians and surgeons will growth at a rate of 14% over 2014-2024. As of May 2015, the median annual wages for health diagnosing and treating practitioners and healthcare support occupations was $74,710 and $27,040, respectively.
Master's and doctoral degrees are available in complementary therapy. Many of these graduate programs emphasize research and business skills, as most complementary medicine practitioners are self-employed.
Complementary therapy degree programs give student the skills to practice nonstandard medical treatments such as aromatherapy and the use of herbal medicines. Employment growth in this field is generally quite good and some graduates of these programs may go on to study further at the master's and doctoral level.