Careers in Holistic Medicine and Health

Holistic medicine prevents disease and treats people's minds, spirits and bodies for pain and illness. Practitioners of holistic medicine approach people as complete beings and seek to address medical issues from many perspectives. Schools offering Complementary & Alternative Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of Holistic Medicine

According to the American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA), holistic medicine is healing that's focused on treating patients' minds as well as their bodies. Practitioners of holistic medicine believe that the mind and spirit are also responsible for illness and pain of the body.

Important Facts About Careers in Holistic Medicine and Health

Licensure Complete 4,200 hours of academic, laboratory and clinical experience, in order to become a licensed chiropractor
Professional Certification Voluntary certification is available as an acupuncturist via the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM)
Work Environment Private practice; hospital settings
Similar Occupations Dental Hygienists, EMTS and Paramedics, Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses, Physician Assistants

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Work as an Acupuncturist

If you work as an acupuncturist, you'll insert needles into your patients' skin to alleviate chronic pain issues. You may treat patients for conditions such as migraines, fibromyalgia, tennis elbow or arthritis. Payscale.com reported that the median annual salary for acupuncturists was $48,782 as of September 2015.

To learn acupuncture techniques, you may choose to enroll in a master's degree program. If you choose to pursue a graduate degree, you'll take classes that cover acupuncture philosophy, and you'll participate in clinical courses that will give you hands-on practice in acupuncture. Your courses might include:

  • Introduction to Oriental medicine
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Systems pathophysiology
  • Acupuncture meridians and points

Depending on your program's focus, you may also take courses that integrate Eastern medical philosophy with Western medical treatments. Clinical courses are typically supervised by licensed, practicing acupuncturists.

Work as a Chiropractor

If you work as a chiropractor, you'll diagnose and treat your patients' musculoskeletal problems using a variety of non-surgical techniques, such as physical therapy. You'll likely focus on patients with spinal issues, but you may choose to specialize in a certain sub-discipline, such as sports medicine or pediatrics. Some chiropractors are also acupuncturists. In May 2014, the BLS reported that chiropractors earned a median annual salary of $66,720.

While enrolled in a chiropractor program, you may take classes in:

  • Spinal anatomy
  • Pathophysiology
  • Chiropractic philosophy
  • Diagnosis

Because chiropractors use medical imaging to diagnose patients, according to the BLS, you may be required to take courses on X-ray and ultrasound technology. You'll also receive hands-on practice with chiropractic techniques during your clinical rotations, which will be supervised by licensed, practicing chiropractors. If you're enrolled in a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) program, you'll generally need at least four years to complete your program's required hours.

Work as a Holistic Nurse

If you work as a holistic nurse, you'll address patients' mental and spiritual issues as well as their physical illnesses. Depending on your specialty, you may use acupuncture, aromatherapy or biofeedback to treat your patients. According to the American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA), you may also treat patients with a combination of holistic therapies and more common clinical practices. While the BLS does not report holistic nurses' salaries specifically, in May 2014, the BLS reported that registered nurses earned a median annual wage of $66,640.

Holistic nurses fit under the broader category of registered nurses, so you'll likely have to earn an associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing and pass the national licensing exam to be considered a registered nurse. After completing your education and licensure, you may apply for holistic nursing certification through the American Holistic Nurses' Certification Corporation (AHNCC). The AHNCC certifies registered nurses as well as nurses with master's degrees.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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  • Purdue University Global

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    • Master
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  • Ashford University

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  • Regent University

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  • Southern New Hampshire University

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  • Fortis College

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    • Certificates

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    • Maryland: Towson
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  • Indiana Wesleyan University

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