Natural Health Degree Programs and Schools
Do you have an interest in becoming a medical practitioner, but would like to focus on alternative medicine? Known as natural health, this profession in medicine works beyond the conventional physician paradigm and incorporates medicinal alternatives most commonly found in non-Western medicine. Schools offering Complementary & Alternative Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Is Natural Health?
Natural health is thought to be an umbrella term that supplements or counters conventional or Western medicine. In general, if you practice natural health, you're considered a health practitioner, not a doctor. This category of medical specialists includes acupuncturists, chiropractors, herbalists and homeopaths (www.bls.gov). Although they seldom give out pharmaceutical medication or provide details on a medical diagnosis, a natural health professional still requires state certification to practice in order to promote health and human safety (www.nccaom.org).
What Kind of Degree Programs Are There?
Since natural health covers a wide range of topics, focusing on a narrow degree program in natural health or on a specialty within online or graduate programs is possible. Master's degree programs in Oriental medicine, acupuncture and natural health research are provided by a number of schools. The major requirement for these schools include your competition of a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) program. A bachelor's degree prepares you for any rigorous research and general knowledge needed to complete a natural health program.
While many master's degree programs require 2-4 years of study, a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (N.D.) program typically lasts four years. A program focused on naturopathic medicine combines some clinical knowledge with approaches in holistic medicine that come from Asian or non-Western medical schools. Although you would earn the title of doctor, you won't be able to prescribe medication unless the medication comes from plant life, nor would you be able to perform any surgical procedures on the patient.
Are Programs Exclusively Online?
Courses may be online, but full programs aren't typically found online. Programs such as a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine and some master's degree programs may offer you some courses online. Also, many online continuing education courses are provided by a number of institutions if you wish to jump into this new career while balancing your personal and professional life. However, many programs don't offer the entire degree online, and state certification requirements might not allow an academic transcript entirely based on online classes.
Some natural health certificate programs may be offered completely online. However, if you wish to become a fully licensed professional, you would need to find an education program that offers degrees, such as a master's degree or Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine. Many certificates are offered through the successful completion of a few seminars and only require you to have a high school diploma (www.cnhp.org). Although these certificates are professionally enriching, they don't offer the rigorous insights and resources needed to work with as a medical researcher or with patients.
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: