Natural Health Training in Michigan with School Overviews

Jul 22, 2019

Research natural health programs in Michigan, which currently has about 21 colleges and universities offering programs. Read an overview of programs, tuition info and degree options for eight of these schools and decide which one is right for you.

Essential Information

According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), practitioners associated with this field include acupuncturists, chiropractors, homeopathy specialists, massage therapists, and naturopathic physicians. Students in Michigan interested in completing a formal education program in a natural health field may earn undergraduate or graduate certificates, as well as associate's, bachelor's, or doctoral degrees in the field. Such programs often incorporate hands-on training as well as a practicum element, such as fieldwork experiences or internships.

Baker College

Baker College is a career-training school, and the flagship of this 9-campus institution is located in Flint. The school offers training in massage therapy.

The certificate program in therapeutic massage requires students to complete 58 quarter credit hours, while the associate's program requires 94. In addition to an exam preparation course, the curriculum includes topics in energy-based, sports and therapeutic massage techniques, anatomy, pathology and pharmacology. Students in the associate's program also take courses in complementary modalities and integrative bodywork and complete a clinical externship. In addition to the Flint campus, Baker College offers state-approved massage therapy programs at its Allen Park, Muskegon, Clinton Township, Jackson, Owosso and Port Huron campuses.

Lansing Community College

This Lansing community college offers programs in career, personal and workforce development, developmental education and general education. It is the only public college in the state with a program in massage therapy that's accredited by the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation.

In addition to standard clinical techniques and exam preparation, the 41- to 46-credit certificate program includes topics in Asian body therapy, infant massage, polarity and positional release. Lower-level health and wellness courses not associated with the certificate program also provide students with information about medical alternatives, stress management, therapeutic touch and yoga.

Michigan State University

In 2013, U.S. News & World Report ranked Michigan State University's College of Osteopathic Medicine in East Lansing 11th for its primary care program. The university is the only one in the United States whose on-campus medical schools award degrees to allopathic and osteopathic physicians.

Through the College of Osteopathic Medicine, aspiring physicians who are interested in a holistic approach to patient care can pursue a 4-year doctoral program. Requirements include both a pre-clerkship and a clinical clerkship phase with six semesters of on-campus coursework in science and six semesters of community-based training in clinics, hospitals and private medical practices.

Relevant courses of study also include a 120-credit undergraduate program in nutritional sciences. The program is designed to teach students how diet can be used to prevent and treat disease and covers topics like medical nutrition therapy, histology, biochemistry and pharmacology.

Northern Michigan University

Northern Michigan University in Marquette is located in the state's Upper Peninsula, and even at the freshman level, instruction is provided by full-time faculty members. Through the Physics Department, students can pursue pre-professional programs in chiropractic, medical and physician assistant services. Notable resources include the Seaborg Science Complex, one of the Midwest's leading university science centers.

The pre-chiropractic program is designed to prepare students for chiropractic college, and in accordance with the Council on Chiropractic Education's guidelines, includes coursework in human anatomy, biology, chemistry and exercise. In addition to in-class work, students might have the opportunity to attend weekly clinical discussions at a nearby hospital or visit regional medical schools.

Schoolcraft College

This is a 2-year, open-door college in Livonia that offers programs in allied health education, massage, medical assisting and nursing. Undergraduates in both the certificate and degree programs in massage therapy pursue an in-depth study of human body systems and participate in two student clinics. The certificate program can be completed in three semesters, and students in the associate's program take additional courses in anatomy, biology, communication and human relations, among other subjects. In addition to providing professional training, the associate's program can help students acquire the academic background they need to pursue a 4-year degree in health or medical studies.

St. Clair County Community College

St. Clair's 25-acre campus is located alongside the Black River in Port Huron. In partnership with the Lakewood School of Therapeutic Massage, the Health and Human Services Department offers a 2-year program in massage therapy that requires 65-67 credits to complete. The curriculum includes 31 credits of general education and anatomy courses at St. Clair and 32 credits of professional training at Lakewood.

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

The Medical School in Ann Arbor was established in 1850, and the school was the first in the country to own and run a university-affiliated hospital. In alignment with NCCAM, the 4-year medical program provides instruction in alternative medicine, biologically-based treatment, energy therapy, manipulative therapy and mind-body intervention. In particular, the Department of Family Medicine offers training in acupuncture, manual medicine and massage, and students can apply for a 1-year Integrative Medicine Fellowship. Also, recent continuing education conferences included a discussion of integrative medicine and primary care.

Western Michigan University

A public research institution in Kalamazoo, Western Michigan University offers one of the country's few programs in integrative holistic health and wellness, including an undergraduate minor and a graduate certificate.

The 18-credit minor requires a prerequisite in choice and behavior, after which students take courses in global holism, ethics, counseling or interpersonal relationships. To fulfill the 9-credit elective requirement, they can pursue studies in aging, biofeedback, meditation and spirituality, among other topics.

The graduate certificate also requires 18 credits to compete and includes an introduction and a seminar in holistic health, along with two professional field experiences. Through nine credits of electives, students can also receive training in body-mind nutrition, tai chi and yoga.

Career Requirements

To obtain a license in Michigan, massage therapists and osteopaths must undergo a criminal background check and be fingerprinted. Additional requirements for massage therapists include one of the following: a satisfactory score on an exam approved by the Michigan Board of Massage Therapy, completion of an approved educational program, five years of practice, membership in a professional organization or a combination of three years of practice and education.

Postgraduate requirements for osteopaths include one year of professional experience in a program that's approved by the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine and a satisfactory score on the COMLEX exam.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Natural Health Programs Offered Tuition & Fees 2018-2019
Baker College of Flint 4-year, primarily associate's, private not-for-profit; large suburb Certificate in Therapeutic Massage,
Associate of Applied Science in Therapeutic Massage
$9,800 (undergraduate)*
Lansing Community College 2-year, public; midsize city Individual courses in health and wellness,
Certificate of Achievement in Therapeutic Massage/Massage Therapy,
Individual health and wellness courses
$3,530 in-district; $6,680 in-state; $9,830 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
Michigan State University 4-year, public; small city Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Science,
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
$14,460 in-state (undergraduate); $39,766 out-of-state (undergraduate); $18,132 in-state (graduate); $35,628 out-of-state (graduate)*
Northern Michigan University 4-year, public; remote town Bachelor's Degree in Pre-Chiropractic Studies $10,729 in-state; $16,225 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
Schoolcraft College 4-year, primarily associate's public; small city Certificate of Completion in Massage Therapy,
Associate of Applied Science in Massage Therapy
$3,850 in-district; $5,176 in-state; $7,230 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
St. Clair County Community College 2-year, public; small suburb Associate of Applied Arts and Science in Therapeutic Massage $4,582 in-district; $8,178 in-state; $11,557 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor 4-year, public; midsize city Doctor of Medicine,
Integrative Medicine Fellowship
$19,708 per term in-state; $29,367 per term out-of-state (medical school)**
Western Michigan University 4-year, public; small city Minor in Integrative Holistic Health and Wellness,
Graduate Certificate in Integrative Holistic Health and Wellness
$12,483 in-state (undergraduate); $15,373 out-of-state (undergraduate); $16,561 in-state (graduate); $30,492 out-of-state (graduate)*

Sources: *NCES College Navigator, **University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

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