Ayurveda Practitioner: Career Profile, Employment Outlook, and Education Requirements

Explore the career requirements for Ayurveda practitioners. Get the facts about education and licensure requirements, salary, and potential job growth to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Complementary & Integrative Therapy degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Ayurveda Practitioner?

Ayurveda is a special form of alternative medicine from India that is becoming increasingly popular in the United States. Practitioners use a holistic health approach that focuses on self healing, healthy diet and healthy lifestyles. Some techniques used in this practice include meditation, postures, breathing exercises and herbal medicines. The objective of Ayurveda is to heal the body, mind and spirit. Look over the following table for general information about this career field.

Degree Required Some U.S. schools offer continuing education or short-term programs; bachelor's degree or doctorate available through schools in India
Education Field of Study Ayurvedic medicine
Key Skills Compassion, patience, knowledge of Ayurvedic techniques
Job Growth (2014-2024) 17% (for all health diagnosing and treating practitioners)*
Average Salary (2015) $97,030 (for all health diagnosing and treating practitioners)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is Ayurvedic Medicine?

Ayurveda is an ancient form of medicine originating from northern India. Those that practice traditional Ayurvedic medicine use holistic techniques to balance the patient's body, mind and spirit. Ayurvedic practitioners believe that by balancing these forces, optimum health may be achieved. In many cases, treatment techniques include the use of plants and herbal extracts. Practitioners also recommend special routines or regimens called dincharya and ritucharya. These routines may be similar to diet and exercise programs often prescribed by personal trainers or dietitians.

How Do I Become a Professional in This Field?

Because this tradition comes from India, many Ayurveda practitioners earn their degrees there. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the National Institutes of Health, aspiring practitioners in India can earn a Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery or a Doctor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery. A training program may take five years or more to complete (http://nccam.nih.gov).

In the United States, Ayurveda programs are usually offered at alternative medicine schools or private institutes. There is no established standard of education for programs in the U.S. However, a few states have recognized Ayurvedic training programs that are available through accredited educational institutions.

An Ayurveda certificate program might explore topics like herbology, nutritional imbalance, vital points of the body and healing techniques. You may need to complete an internship in order to receive your certificate. Some standalone or continuing education courses in Ayurveda may be available as well.

What Is the Employment Outlook?

According to the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC), the job outlook for complementary and alternative medicine practitioners--a category that includes Ayurvedic professionals--was expected to be positive. The AANMC noted that the number of jobs in this industry was expected to increase due to the rising popularity of natural lifestyle and diet regimens versus general pharmaceutical treatments. Secondly, employment growth should also be aided by an increase in the number of senior citizens in the United States, a population that requires more medical attention than others.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you're interested in other career options that are more traditional, consider becoming a dietitian, health educator or rehabilitation counselor. Dietitians focus on healthy eating habits and dietary planning, and they often need not only a bachelor's degree to practice, but professional licensure as well. Health educators teach healthy behaviors that help improve the health of individuals and communities. These professionals sometimes need to be certified, and they also need to hold a bachelor's degree. Rehabilitation counselors assess and help patients who have a range of disabilities from the physical to the emotional. This career requires a master's degree, with some states requiring licensure as well.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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