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What Are Some Well-Known Holistic Medicine Schools in the U.S.?

Holistic medicine is made up of a variety of disciplines from naturopathy to acupuncture. Within the U.S., a handful of accredited schools specialize in training and educating health care practitioners interested in holistic medicine. To learn more about well-known holistic medicine schools, read on.

Overview of Holistic Medicine Schools

Currently, five accredited naturopathic medicine schools exist within the United States. These schools are accredited by both a regional accrediting agency of higher learning and the Council on Naturopathic Medicine Education. The National College of Natural Medicine, Bastyr University and Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences are three of the most well-known holistic medicine schools.

Important Information About These Schools

Prerequisites Admission to doctoral naturopathic medicine programs often requires undergraduate completion of specific coursework in organic chemistry, college math, biology and more
Online Availability Programs are available online from some schools, though any professional program will require some in-person training
Possible Careers Holistic health practitioner, wellness coach, herbal educator
Continuing Education For licensed holistic practitioners, continuing holistic education is often required to qualify for licensure renewal
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)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

National College of Natural Medicine

Considered the oldest holistic medicine college in the U.S., the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon, was founded in the 1950s. This well-known holistic medicine college is the alma mater of around 50% of the naturopathic physicians licensed in the U.S. The National College of Natural Medicine includes a natural health clinic, a research center and four schools. The School of Naturopathic Medicine has a 4-year program for aspiring holistic medicine physicians. The School of Classical Chinese Medicine offers master's degree programs in Oriental medicine and acupuncture. This college also offers continuing education courses for current holistic medicine practitioners.

Bastyr University

Established in 1978 in Seattle, Washington, Bastyr University is the largest independent holistic medicine school not affiliated with a university. Currently, more than 1,200 students are working on undergraduate, graduate and doctorate degrees. Along with multidisciplinary programs in holistic medicines, Bastyr University is well-known for the clinical trials and research conducted in its Research Institute. Students are expected to complete extensive clinical training within the university's natural health center after finishing coursework. Students enrolled at Bastyr University can pursue a number of holistic medicine degrees:

  • Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine
  • Bachelor/Master of Science in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
  • Master of Science in Nutrition & Clinical Health Psychology
  • Bachelor of Science in Herbal Sciences

Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences (SCNM)

In 1993, Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences began offering its Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine program in Tempe, Arizona. The school also offers non-degree courses. At present, more than 400 students were enrolled at SCNM. A teaching clinic, the SCNM Medical Center, was opened in 1994 in Scottsdale.

Students of the 4-year doctorate degree program in naturopathic medicine take basic medical and science courses in the first two years of study. Many courses in this program combine instruction with lab exercises. The final year is devoted to clinical training at the SCNM Medical Center or one of eight community clinics. Courses included in the program are:

  • Mind-Body Medicine
  • Botanical Medicine
  • Homeopathy
  • Oriental Medicine
  • Environmental Medicine