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Certified Herbalist Training Programs and Certifications

While herbalists aren't typically certified, you may pursue a certificate program that will prepare you for a career in the field. Learn more about the career, your training, common courses and certification options.

Can I Earn Certification?

Standardized certification for herbalists across the industry doesn't exist, although your state may offer certification based on certain professional or educational qualifications. If you're interested in formalizing your knowledge of herbology, you can earn a certificate or bachelor's degree in the field. Some programs are specifically geared toward those who are already licensed, trained or certified healthcare professionals like nurses or acupuncturists. Depending on your previous experience and career goals, you may pursue a Certificate in Chinese Herbology, a Bachelor of Science in Herbal Sciences, a graduate Certificate in Medical Herbalism or a related program.

Getting Certified Standardized national certification not available, but some states provide their own
Programs Certificates in Chinese Herbology, bachelor's degrees in herbal sciences, graduate-level and programs for licensed healthcare professionals available
The Job Involves using plants, herbs and herbal patients to prevent and treat medical conditions; herbalists are not doctors
Study Options Part-time courses/continuing education, online study, internships or hands-on training
Common Courses Safe practices, history of herbology, herb cultivation
Median Salary (2019) $39,305 (for all herbalists)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 13% growth (for health diagnosing and treating practitioners, all other)*

Sources: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does an Herbalist Do?

Herbology is an alternative therapy used to treat medical conditions and prevent illness. Herbalists are responsible for the preparation and dispensation of plants, herbs and herbal formulas for patients. Herbalists must know about the characteristics of the herbs that they are providing and must also be knowledgeable about side effects and contraindications. Patients may come to an herbalist for help with a specific ailment or the patient may instead seek a combination to avoid sickness. An herbalist is not a doctor, but may be trained in some aspects of the medical field and human body processes.

What Should I Look for in a School?

Programs may be geared toward working professionals and offer courses at night or on weekends. Other programs may offer online learning through downloadable lessons. You might be able count some classes toward your continuing education credits for professional certification or licensing you may already hold. Some schools have on-campus herb gardens or labs that allow you to develop hands-on skills in cultivating and preparing herbs under supervision. An internship and clinical practice may be required.

What Will I Study?

In a herbology program, you will study plants, herbs and the many potential combinations intended to promote wellness, with an emphasis on safe practices and delivering high quality, effective herbal solutions. A certificate program will typically train you on the history of herbology, variations like Chinese, Western or Ayurvedic methods and specific treatments and herbal preparations. Some certificate programs may also train you to grow and harvest your own herbs to use in your practice.