Online Bachelor's Degree in Alternative Medicine

Alternative medicine practitioners look for the root of health problems and use natural healing methods to treat illness. Read about online degree programs in this field, and explore some of the typical coursework. Get info on career options in alternative medicine, many of which require additional training and licensure beyond a bachelor's degree. Learn about graduate degree programs you could pursue to advance your alternative medicine training. Schools offering Allied Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Online Bachelor's Degree in Alternative Medicine?

Online bachelor's degree programs in alternative medicine are 4-year programs with titles such as Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Alternative Medicine, Bachelor of Health Science (B.H.S.) in Nutrition, B.S. in Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Health Education. These programs help you develop an in-depth knowledge of the human body, as well as the skills necessary to practice nutrition. Some of the theoretical areas you may encounter include social wellness, community health, research and planning.

What Courses Will I Take?

Typically included in your general education requirements for these programs are English, anatomy and physiology, algebra, biology, chemistry and psychology. Requirements usually include a combination of lecture and lab classes. Depending upon the scope of the program, course topics might include health care ethics, homeopathy, naturopathy, nutritional counseling skills, acupuncture principles and traditional Chinese medicine.

What Career Options Will I Have?

With your bachelor's degree in alternative medicine, you can pursue entry-level careers in a number of different places, including government organizations, schools and hospitals. Some positions you may hold include medical assistant, massage therapist, nutritionist and dietician. Nutritionists and dieticians often work in hospitals or medical practices, helping physicians educate their patients on health and wellness. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated that the median annual income for nutritionists and dieticians was about $54,000 as of 2011 (www.bls.gov).

Please note that some of the potential careers you could pursue with a bachelor's degree in alternative medicine or a related field require additional education, training and licensure beyond that provided by a bachelor's degree program. As of 2011, massage therapy was regulated through licensing or certification in Washington, D.C., at the state level in 43 states and at the local level in several regions, so you'd need to be aware of the regulations in the area in which you'd like to practice if you chose to become a massage therapist.

Can I Pursue Further Education After Earning This Degree?

You could enroll in a master's degree program in nutrition and dietetics. The minimum educational requirement for a dietician to earn the Registered Dietician credential from the Commission on Dietetic Registration is a bachelor's degree. However, the BLS states that nutritionists and dieticians generally need to have some formal education or training beyond a bachelor's degree program, either through a supervised internship following graduation or through a postbaccalaureate program. Most states require dieticians and nutritionists to be licensed, certified or registered.

Alternatively, you could earn your Doctor of Chiropractic degree. According to the BLS, chiropractors must complete at least three years of undergraduate schooling before they can apply to chiropractic school. After earning their degrees, they must be licensed. The BLS estimated in May 2011 that the median annual income for chiropractors was about $66,000.

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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