How Can I Begin a Career in Homeopathy?

If you are intrigued with medicine, but you don't like the thought of administering conventional treatments, a career in homeopathy might be right for you. Homeopaths use natural herbs and minerals to treat health problems in patients. Read on to learn how to begin a career in homeopathy. Schools offering Complementary & Alternative Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Homeopathic Medicine Defined

Homeopathy fits into the category of complementary and alternative medicine. Homeopathy is a holistic approach to medicine, wherein practitioners use herbs and other natural substances to mimic the symptoms of maladies, which, in small doses, are thought to help cure those maladies. This practice originated in Germany near the end of the 18th century with Samuel Hahnemann, who called his theory the Law of Similars.

As a homeopathic doctor, you will first assess your patient's constitution type, which is the physical, emotional and intellectual makeup of a person. Then, based on the patient's constitution and current physical condition, you would prescribe a natural remedy.

Although homeopathy is not proven to prevent or cure sicknesses and symptoms, some homeopathic treatments are used for relieving medical conditions such as allergies, asthma, headaches and arthritis. Homeopaths work in medical settings, but are not required to be licensed in all states.

Important Facts About This Field

Similar Occupations Natural Pharmacist, Wellness Educator, Public Health Administrator
On-the-Job Training Internships are available
Key Skills Patience, compassion, problem-solving, and communication
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 14% growth (for all physicians)
Degree Levels Available as a BS in Alternative Medicine and a PhD in Homeopathy
Common Courses Biology, dietary influences on disease, antioxidants, organic chemistry

Source: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education

To begin a career in homeopathy, you might decide to complete a naturopathic doctor education program that offers homeopathic studies in the curriculum. Naturopathic education is available through 4-year programs at some accredited colleges. Courses focus on homeopathic remedies, anatomy, nutrition, physiology and holistic theory. Some naturopathic programs have residency options in homeopathy.

You could also start your career by earning a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) from an accredited university and then complete a postgraduate degree program. Although postgraduate homeopathy programs typically take four years to complete, as a licensed MD you might be able to complete the program in a shorter time.

Although homeopathy certificate programs are offered by alternative medicine schools, few are from accredited colleges. These programs are available online and generally do not have prerequisites.

Certification

There are several organizations that offer certification for homeopathic practitioners who meet education and training qualifications. For example, you can earn certification from the Council for Homeopathic Certification (CHC) if you practice classical homeopathy in the U.S., have a minimum of 500 hours of training, complete an anatomy and physiology course at an accredited college and have 250 documented hours of clinical observation along with ten supervised cases (www.homeopathicdirectory.com). The American Board of Homeotherapeutics offers diplomate status to MDs and DOs who have completed 150 hours of postgraduate education in homeopathy and who meet experience qualifications (homeopathyusa.org).

While these certification organizations are not recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, the credentials they offer may be helpful in demonstrating your education and experience to potential employers and patients. In order to keep your certification current, you may need to complete continuing education courses.

Licensure

You need a license to practice as a homeopathic physician in some states. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the National Institutes of Health, Nevada, Arizona and Connecticut license homeopathic physicians who are already licensed to practice medicine (nccam.nih.gov). Although most states do not have licensure requirements, states such as California have laws in place that require homeopaths to advertise themselves as non-licensed professionals.

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