Guide to Online Naturopathy & Holistic Medicine Degrees
Once considered an alternative medical option, holistic medicine and naturopathy are becoming increasingly mainstream. Holistic medical and naturopathic physicians typically prescribe a combination of dietary and exercise changes along with natural supplements to treat disease and promote health and wellness. In fact, a growing number of hospitals and other traditional healthcare facilities are now including naturopathic physicians on their patient treatment teams, and demand for these health professionals is expected to grow by 11% in the next decade. The following is a list of the most popular schools offering online holistic medicine degrees, designed to help prospective students select a school that best fits their needs. Continue reading to discover more about accredited programs and answers to frequently asked questions about this field.
Most Popular Accredited Online Schools for Holistic Medicine Degrees
Online Holistic Medicine Degree Overview & Career Information
Multiple levels of education are available in the field of holistic medicine. For entry-level positions within the field, aspiring professionals can seek an online associate degree. An associate program is made up of 60 credit hours and can be completed in two years. Graduates from this level of education can go on to work as herbalists, aroma therapists, and medical assistants. Professionals who are looking to expand their career options to health and wellness coaches, herbal practitioner, or spa directors will want to seek an online bachelor's degree. These programs take four years to complete and are comprised of approximately 120 credit hours of study. The next level of education that can be pursued is an online master's degree program. After completing this two-year degree, graduates may be prepared to work as life coaches, scholars, and educators. Finally, students interested in becoming naturopathic doctors must pursue doctoral degrees. A doctoral degree can take anywhere between five to seven years to complete and includes a dissertation and externship.
Online Associate Degrees in Holistic Medicine
Students can graduate with an online associate degree in holistic medicine in two years by completing 60 credit hours of coursework. There are often specializations offered at this degree level, such as aromatherapy, herbal medicine, and holistic spa management. An online associate degree in holistic medicine is designed to equip students to not only improve physical well-being in their patient's lives but also their mental and spiritual well-being through natural treatments. Students can expect to take classes in aromatherapy I & II, aromatherapy chemistry, herbal material medical, herbal studies, holistic nutrition, anatomy and physiology, aromatherapy for spa managers, comprehensive introduction to spa management, retail management for spas, supervision in the hospitality industry, and financial management for spas. Applicants must hold a high school diploma or equivalency in order to be eligible for a holistic medicine program. Graduates go on to enter the industry holding a variety of different job titles, such as clinical herbalist, perfumer, clinical aroma therapist, medical assistant, and esthetician. Online associate level programs in holistic medicine can be found at colleges, universities, and vocational schools.
Online Bachelor's Degrees in Holistic Medicine
Online bachelor's programs in holistic medicine can be earned at universities and colleges that primarily focus on medicine. These programs generally take students four years to complete, with total credit hour requirements ranging from 120 to 123. Coursework is comprised of classes like naturopathy, principles of acupuncture, body awareness and physical movement, detoxification and healing, antioxidants, and alternative approaches to disease. Students who plan to go on to a graduate program to become a naturopathic doctor will also want to make sure they take the appropriate prerequisite science classes during their undergraduate study. Participating in a bachelor's level program may help already working professionals expand their career options or even educate them on new treatments that can be added to their current practice. Many graduates go on to work as health and wellness coaches, holistic nutritionists, massage therapists, and spa directors. First time freshmen will need to have their completed high school diploma or their GED. Students who are continuing from an associate degree program will need to provide all college transcripts from any post secondary schools attended previously.
Online Master's Degrees in Holistic Medicine
Professionals in holistic medicine will often find that seeking an online master's degree will prepare them for leadership roles in the field. Master's degree programs in holistic medicine are comprised of 36 credit hours and take approximately two years to complete. Graduate curriculums are designed to provide students with in-depth and advanced knowledge that reflects current theories and practices within the industry. Classes may include aromatherapy science, botany and plant identification for the holistic practitioner, homeopathy, advanced applied holistic nutrition, nutrition and dietary supplements, anatomy and physiology I & II, and a capstone project. Upon graduation, professionals may go on to work as scholars, life coaches, life consultants, and educators. Applicants who are interested in participating in a graduate program must posses a bachelor's degree from an accredited program recognized by the US Department of Education and must provide their transcripts. Many programs will also ask their applicants to provide professional letters of recommendation outlining their professional accomplishments and attributes.
Online Doctoral Degrees in Holistic Medicine
Aspiring naturopathic doctors will need to earn their doctoral degree before entering into practice. Students enrolled in an online doctoral program will learn to combine natural resources with the resources of modern science to provide patients with holistic diagnosis and treatment. Graduates will also be prepared to work in a number of settings, such as hospitals, clinics, community health centers, and private practice. Key courses include clinical biochemistry, basic sciences, functional medicine, detoxification and nature cure, naturopathic women's health, naturopathic pediatrics, elemental chemistry, color therapy, and aromatherapy. Students will also be required to participate in a clinical externship before graduating. The typical online doctoral degree program will take participants five to seven years to complete and is available through universities. To be admitted, students must hold a bachelor's or master's degree is holistic medicine or similar field. Prerequisite courses include biology and general chemistry. Some programs may require previous work experience; in these cases a professional resume will also be required.
Online Certificates in Holistic Medicine
Undergraduates who wish to continue their studies in holistic medicine but do not wish to participate in a traditional degree program may want to consider obtaining a graduate certificate in its place. Most certificate programs can be completed in under a year and consist of 15 to 20 credit hours. Students will participate in classes like complimentary and alternative medicine, aromatherapy science, homeopathy, and advanced applied holistic nutrition. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution to qualify for a graduate certificate program. Graduates may go on to work as massage therapists, holistic life coaches, aroma therapists, and spa directors.
The Importance of an Accredited Online Holistic Medicine Degree
Regional accreditation is an important factor in post-secondary education. Regional accreditation is the process in which institutions and programs are reviewed by organizations who assess the overall quality of education being put forth. Federal financial aide is only available to accredited programs, so students who are in need of this kind of assistance will need to enroll in a program that is accredited. Many employers will not recognize degrees unless they have been received through an accredited school. Professional resumes that include an accredited education will give employers confidence in the candidate's knowledge and skills. Accreditation will also make the transfer process a lot easier for students who are looking to transfer their credits to other schools.
The Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME) is an important accrediting body for naturopathic medical programs. Their mission is to provide quality assurance for students as well as patients who will be diagnosed and treated by future practicing professionals. This accrediting body is also important because only graduates who have received education through a program accredited by CNME will be eligible to sit for a professional board exam.
Frequently Asked Questions About Holistic Medicine Degrees
What is the job outlook for naturopathic physicians?
O*NET has given this field its special “Bright Outlook” designation because demand is expected to grow by at least 11% over the next 8 to 10 years. The current average salary for naturopathic physicians is $75,640 per year. Holistic medicine professionals often operate their own private practices, but they may also find job opportunities at more traditional healthcare facilities.
What skills do I need to become a successful naturopathic physician?
Naturopathic physicians require a broad range of skills and abilities. To effectively examine and diagnose patients, they should be able to listen attentively. They should also ask questions, take detailed notes, and use both deductive and inductive reasoning. They then need to combine their critical thinking skills with their knowledge of anatomy, medicine, and psychology to determine the best course of treatment. Finally, naturopaths must be able to communicate their findings and treatment plans sensitively, yet persuasively.
Can I specialize in a specific aspect of holistic medicine?
Yes. After completing their formal education in holistic medicine, many naturopaths go on to specialize in specific diseases. Others focus on a particular subset of patients, such as children or expectant mothers. Some areas of specialization include oncology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, and psychiatry.
Are there any professional organizations for holistic medical health practitioners that I can join?
Naturopaths and holistic medical health practitioners have many general and specific professional organizations they can join. These organizations provide additional career development resources and networking opportunities. Some of these organizations include:
- American Association of Naturopathic Physicians: Founded in 1985, the AANP is the predominant national professional society for licensed naturopathic doctors, naturopathic medicine students, and other healthcare professionals allied with the naturopathic profession.
- Homeopathic Academy of Naturopathic Physicians: The mission of HANP is to set professional standards and promote the use of homeopathic medicines among naturopaths.
- Naturopathic Medicine Institute: The Naturopathic Medicine Institute is dedicated to educating the public and medical practitioners about the principles and practice of naturopathic medicine.