Natural Health Practitioner Certification and Training Programs
Natural health practitioner certifications and training can open up career options in natural health, such as an acupuncturist or naturopathic physician. Discover details on the certification and licensure requirements for these careers and find out what you'd study in various types of natural health programs.
What Is a Natural Health Practitioner?
'Natural health practitioner' is one of many names given to people who believe in using a natural approach to wellness and health care. As a natural health practitioner, you may specialize in acupuncture, massage, aromatherapy, yoga, Eastern medicine or naturopathic medicine. In general, natural health practitioners believe in treating the body as a whole and searching for underlying causes for health or wellness issues, rather than treating individual symptoms.
|Career Emphasis||Naturopathic approach, alternative therapies, holistic treatments|
|Training Options||Natural health schools and community colleges, online options|
|Common Courses||Biology and natural health, anatomy and physiology, herbal studies|
|Certification Availability||NCCAOM accreditation, ABIHM accreditation|
|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 Training Is Available?
Because natural health is a wide field, many training opportunities are available to you. Natural or holistic health degree programs are offered at all levels, from diploma to doctoral programs. Programs may be offered at specialized natural health schools or community colleges. Classes may be offered online.
General natural or holistic health degree programs are generally found at the associate's degree or bachelor's degree levels, although master's degree programs are also available. Some natural health schools also offer naturopathic physician (ND) programs, which prepare you for becoming a natural health primary care physician. The Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME) accredits naturopathic medicine programs. Additionally, the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) accredits acupuncture and Oriental medicine programs.
Depending on the requirements of the state in which you intend to practice, you may need to seek licensure or sit for a certification exam. Contact your state for more information.
What Classes Will I Take?
While classes vary depending on your natural health specialty, natural health programs tend to include a mixture of biology courses with ones devoted to natural health. You will likely take classes along the lines of holistic nutrition, anatomy and physiology, immunology and herbal studies. Some degree programs may also require some general education courses.
What Certifications Are Available?
If you have specialized in acupuncture or Oriental medicine, certification is available through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). To be eligible to sit for the certification exam, you must have either have graduated from an Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine-accredited program or have been apprenticed in your field. Certifications must be renewed every four years.
Certification is available for medical doctors who wish to add holistic principles to their practices through the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine (ABIHM). You will need a medical degree and to be licensed to practice medicine in order to eligible to sit for the exam. Certification is good for seven years and then needs to be renewed.