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Natural Health Practitioner: Career and Salary Facts

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue as a natural health practitioner. Read on to learn more about career options along with salary and job growth information.

What Is a Natural Health Practitioner?

Natural health practitioners improve their patients' health using natural medicines and techniques. There are a wide variety of careers under the umbrella of natural health practitioner, naturopathic physicians and acupuncturists being two examples. Naturopathic physicians perform many of the same tasks as a regular physician, such as taking medical histories, examining patients and diagnosing injuries or illnesses. However, instead of prescribing medications for treatment they may suggest natural remedies such as changing a patient's diet or using natural herbs to treat the ailment. Acupuncturists poke needles throughout the body to manage pain and other medical issues. Consider the information in the table below to determine if a career as a natural health practitioner is right for you.

Naturopathic Physicians Acupuncturists
Degree Required Ph.D. common Master's degree common
Education Field of Study Medicine and dentistry, psychology, therapy and counseling Medicine and dentistry, customer and personal service, psychology, therapy and counseling
Key Skills Active listening, critical thinking, social perceptiveness Active listening, critical thinking, social perceptiveness, judgment and decision making
Job Growth (2018-2028) 11% for all health diagnosing and treating practitioners (all other)* 11% for all health diagnosing and treating practitioners (all other)*
Median Salary (2018) $73,960 for all health diagnosing and treating practitioners (all other)* $73,960 for all health diagnosing and treating practitioners (all other)*

Source: *O*Net Online.

How Do I Become a Natural Health Practitioner?

There are many programs in natural health for you to choose from; some offer onsite learning and others offer distance learning. You also have the option to pursue a certificate in natural health, as well as Bachelor of Science, Master of Science or Doctor of Philosophy degrees in holistic natural health and healing. The level of study you choose will determine how long you study, with most certificate programs taking two years of study to complete. Most natural health practitioners specialize in one area of natural health based on their studies. As a student of natural health, you'll most likely study holistic nutrition, disease origins, psychophysiology, biology, anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, herbology, Chinese Medicine, Western sciences, massage and business and legal practices.

What Types of Jobs Might I Get?

As a natural health practitioner, you'll be trained to work in a wide variety of settings. If your career goal is to work one-on-one with clients, you have the option to begin your own practice, work with a Doctor of Naturopathy (N.D.), in a hospital or hospice, in a spa or cruise ship or become a life coach. Other career options include becoming a natural health product sales representative, a corporate speaker and consultant, a health educator, an author and a researcher.

What Might I Expect To Earn?

Health diagnosing and treating practitioners earn a median salary of $73,960 per year, according to 2018 statistics from O*Net Online. Those who work in medical hospitals earn an average of $82,210, while those who work in the offices of other health practitioners earn an average of $66,980, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) in 2018. Your salary will also depend on the concentration and social acceptability of natural health practitioners in your area, with those areas of highest concentration offering a greater earning opportunity, according to the BLS.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

There are several related careers in the medical field that require a doctoral or professional degree, including podiatrists, dentists and chiropractors. Podiatrists specialize in treating issues of the feet, ankles and lower legs. They are also qualified to perform surgery in these areas. Dentists focus on providing preventative and corrective oral care. They clean and treat any issues of the teeth, gums and mouth. Chiropractors help patients manage neck and back pain. They treat the bones, muscles and nerves in these areas through spinal adjustments.