Master's Degrees in Alternative Medicine

Master's degree programs in alternative medicine are offered in complementary and alternative medicine or acupuncture and Oriental medicine. Keep reading for more information about program options and how online learning works. Schools offering Complementary & Alternative Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Master's Degree Programs in Alternative Medicine Are Available?

You can find many master's degree options in alternative medicine, depending on your specific area of interest. A Master of Science in Complementary and Alternative Medicine will give you an overview of many areas of alternative medicine. In this program, you'll learn how homeopathic, natural and alternative therapies can be used in conjunction with Western medical treatments. Complementary and alternative medicine programs are usually research-oriented; graduates aren't prepared to practice alternative medicine.

Master's programs in acupuncture, Oriental medicine and herbal medicine are often designed for students who are interested in practicing alternative medicine. Many of these programs require hands-on work and clinical experiences, making online opportunities difficult to find. Acupuncture and oriental medicine programs may prepare students for certification exams offered by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.

Degree Fields Alternative medicine, acupuncture, Oriental medicine and herbal medicine
Common Courses Holistic nutrition, herbal pharmacology, Taoist philosophy, cellular physiology, legal issues
Learning Environments Programs are predominantly conducted within the classroom, however online programs are available
Median Salary (2018) $73,960 (for health diagnosing and treating practitioners, all other)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 13% growth (for health diagnosing and treating practitioners, all other)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Kinds of Courses Will I Take?

The courses you'll take depend on which type of program you choose. In a complementary and alternative medicine master's program, you'll usually take an overview course that covers many types of alternative therapies. Human physiology courses teach you about the human body; you might cover specialized topics like cardiovascular or cellular physiology. Additional courses might include mind-body awareness, holistic nutrition and legal issues regarding treatment methods.

Master's degree programs for those who intend to practice alternative medicine usually feature courses that deal specifically with a chosen field. In an herbal medicine master's program, you'll take classes that teach you how plants can be used for physical, emotional and spiritual health. You'll also examine herbal treatments used in Native American, Middle Eastern and Chinese cultures.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine master's programs teach the Taoist philosophy of mind-body balance and harmony. You'll explore concepts like the cultivation of Qi or inner energy, Western and Chinese medical terminology and herbal pharmacology. Internships and hands-on practice are a large portion of your educational experience; this might include providing acupuncture services at a community clinic.

How Do Online Programs Work?

Online master's degree programs in alternative medicine are rare; most are geared towards licensed healthcare professionals interested in complementary and alternative therapies. Some courses you might take include energy therapy, herbal remedies and botanical toxicology. Due to hands-on requirements, master's programs in acupuncture, Oriental medicine and herbal medicine are primarily campus-based.

In online programs, you'll view lectures and presentations via the Internet. Some programs may require live conference calls with instructors and classmates. You might be asked to engage in self-guided experiences like yoga practice or meditation.

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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