Online Herbalism Schools

Herbalism is the practice of using natural or herbal remedies to treat medical conditions. This training may be useful to medical doctors, naturopaths, osteopaths and non-physicians alike. Learn about online degree programs, online courses and certification. Schools offering Complementary & Alternative Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Can I Get a Degree Online from an Accredited Herbalism School?

Herbalism is a component of naturopathic medicine. Education in the field is typically offered through degree or certificate programs in other disciplines, like Oriental or naturopathic medicine. Programs offering education in herbalism may be accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) or the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education. Both organizations are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Accredited naturopathic medical schools can join the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC).

The AANMC does not recognize any online degree-granting program in naturopathic medicine. If you graduate from an online program, you won't be eligible to sit for the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examination (NPLEX). Therefore, the AANMC says, you cannot become licensed to practice in the United States as a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (www.aanmc.org). It may be possible to take some online Oriental medicine coursework through ACAOM-accredited institutions. However, it is very rare that these programs will be conducted entirely online.

If you would like to join professional organizations like the American Herbalists Guild (AHG), which is an internationally recognized professional, non-profit, educational association of herbal practitioners, you may not want to earn a degree from an all-online program. Although the AHG accepts members with a certain amount of online training, at least 400 out of a minimum of 1600 total educational hours must be spent in hands-on clinical work. Included in the 400 hours of clinical work are courses in counseling, laboratory findings, record keeping, constitutional analysis, dosing strategies, nutritional and dietary counseling, wellness counseling and interviewing. The remaining 1200 hours consist of didactic courses, which may be pursued online (www.americanherbalistguild.com).

What Online Courses are Available?

Herbalism-related, AHG-recommended courses that are available online include anatomy, physiology, pathology, biochemistry, medical terminology and nutrition. Online courses are also available in botany and plant anatomy and identification. Therapeutic herbalism courses dealing with dosages, toxicology, indications and contraindications are offered online. You can also take online courses in pharmacognosy, the study of medicines from natural sources, and phytochemistry, the study of chemicals derived from plants.

You may be able to take individual online courses as professional development or continuing education credits. Some schools also offer online courses in career preparation, professional ethics and small business management, as well as the history and philosophy of herbalism.

Can I Become Certified?

The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) is the only national certifying body for practitioners of acupuncture and oriental medicine. Available certifications are in acupuncture, oriental medicine, Asian bodywork therapy and Chinese herbology.

According to the NCCAOM, you must take one of four routes to be eligible to earn the diplomate in Chinese herbology certification. Two of these routes involve formal education, and there are different requirements for U.S. and foreign applicants. For U.S. applicants, formal education must be earned from an ACAOM-accredited program. The third route involves apprenticeship without formal education, and the fourth route offers a combination of apprenticeship and formal education requirements.

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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