Master's programs in herbology (3 years), sometimes referred to as herbal or Oriental medicine, train individuals to use herbs and other natural plants to improve and maintain health and wellness. They emphasize courses such as physiology, acupuncture and Ayurveda, and prepare graduates for important certifying exams. Individuals considering a master's degree in this field should choose a program that's accredited by the ACAOM.
Prerequisites for these programs include a bachelor's degree, a GPA of 2.5 or higher, prior coursework in basic science courses, letters of recommendation, and personal essays.
Master's Degree in Herbology
A master's degree program in herbology teaches students about the history and principles of herbal medicine and herbal formulas, as well as internal, external and mental diseases. Students generally complete courses in herb classification, detoxification, biochemistry and herbal healing. These programs prepare students to sit for the National Commission for Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) examination. Graduates might go on to become consultants, herbology instructors or health food store proprietors. Typical courses may include the following:
- Digestion principles
Master herbalists often consult with pharmacies, physicians' offices and health food stores. Many are self-employed and develop their own herbal formulas. Graduates of a master's degree program in herbology might find employment in one of the following positions:
- Holistic wellness consultant
- Health food store owner
- Herbalist writer
- Herbology instructor
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't list herbalists separately, herbalists are listed among health diagnosing and treating practitioners, all other. The mean annual wages for these workers were $85,120 in May 2015.
Continuing Education Information
NCCAOM requires certified herbalists to re-certify every four years by completing 60 credits of competency maintenance and professional developmental activities. Candidates must also complete a formal re-certification application and pay renewal fees. Additionally, three schools have earned NCCAOM accreditation for their Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine programs; however, accreditation of doctoral programs is only a pilot process and has not yet been recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education.
Graduate students interested in herbology can seek out master's degree programs in the field, with those recognized by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine usually providing the best gateways to careers in this form of medicine. Graduates who go on to practice herbology are also required be re-certified every four years.