What Are Popular Career Options in Alternative Medicine?

Alternative medicine is a broad field that covers a wide range of career options. Some popular choices include Chinese medicine practitioner, massage therapist, personal trainer, nutritionist, chiropractor and aromatherapist. Learn more about some of these career options here. Schools offering Complementary & Alternative Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.


Alternative medicine offers a number of different treatment options for patients and career choices for potential practitioners. Wellness with a focus on natural remedies is a common theme throughout the various branches.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Median Salary (2018) $73,960 (for health diagnosing and treating practitioners, all other)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 13% (for health diagnosing and treating practitioners, all other)
Licensure Personal trainers often require certification, and licensure requirements for massage therapists and acupuncturists vary by the state. Chiropractors must be licensed in every state
Key Skills Listening abilities, empathy, customer service skills
Work Environment Fitness centers or gyms, spas, clinics, and physicians' offices

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Chinese Medicine Practitioner

Chinese alternative medicine includes acupuncture, oriental medicine and herbology. As one of the healing arts, it deals with understanding and treating the body as a whole by identifying the body's energy points, which are known as meridians. The techniques seek to balance the body's Yin Yang. Acupuncture involves the application of fine needles to the body's meridians to cure certain ailments, while herbology uses natural plant remedies as an alternative to prescription drugs.

Massage Therapist

A career in massage therapy could be another option. It incorporates different features of alternative medicine with modern science. Traditional massage therapists manipulate the muscles to ease pains. However, massage therapists who are interested in alternative medicine often include elements of Reiki, herbology, aromatherapy, reflexology, ayurveda and other common forms of the healing practice.

Personal Trainer

Although personal training does not necessarily include elements of alternative medicine, some clients look for personal trainers who include both traditional and non-traditional techniques in their wellness regimens. Personal trainers may integrate life coaching, nutrition and other holistic healing techniques into a routine of personal wellness.


Chiropractic therapy, one of the most mainstream forms of alternative medicine, involves adjusting the spine to cure back pains. A chiropractor typically works with people who have suffered sports injuries, whiplash and related ailments.


Aromatherapy uses fragrances of various essential oils and plant extracts to cure a variety of conditions and relax the body. This practice involves a mixture of different elements of herbology and therapeutic massage.

Other Career Options

Holistic healthcare treats the whole person, not just the symptoms. It takes into account one's spiritual, emotional, mental and physical health. Other career options might exist within the following branches of the healing and medicinal arts:

  • Ayurveda
  • Homeopathy
  • Naturopathic medicine
  • Energy healing
  • Kinesiology
  • Botanical medicine
  • Nutrition

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Ashford University

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  • Southern New Hampshire University

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    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master

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  • Purdue University Global

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  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

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  • Penn Foster High School

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  • Quinsigamond Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Massachusetts: Worcester
  • Plymouth State University

    Campus Locations:

    • New Hampshire: Plymouth
  • St Catherine University

    Campus Locations:

    • Minnesota: Saint Paul
  • Paradise Valley Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Arizona: Phoenix