Online Alternative Medicine Degree Programs

Alternative medicine is a constantly growing and evolving industry. Alternative medicine professionals use natural healing methods to help alleviate pain, reduce stress, increase energy and help patients feel better. Online alternative medicine degree programs prepare students to use alternative treatments for many different ailments. The programs concentrate on viewing the body, mind, and spirit as a whole and treating various aspects of each patient. Students learn to have strong belief in the body’s ability to heal itself and focus on the patient’s responsibility in preventing disease. Most alternative medicine students choose a particular specialty to focus on, but many perform various techniques. Read more about online alternative medicine degree programs.

Some Stats

In 2006, there were 3 bachelor degrees, 1,165 master degrees, and 4 doctorate degrees conferred in acupuncture. There were 43 bachelor degrees and 16 master degrees in other alternative and complementary medicine and medical systems and 17 bachelor degrees and 3 master degrees in other alternative and complementary medical support and services (1). In 2006, massage therapists held 118,000 jobs with 64% being self-employed (2).

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook for alternative medicine jobs varies depending on degree and position. As more people realize and understand the effects of alternative treatments, there will be a greater demand for alternative medicine professionals. Employment of massage therapists is expected to grow faster than average for all professions from 2006 to 2016, increasing 20% and adding 24,000 new jobs (2).

Specialties

Alternative medicine is a large field and students can choose from a variety of specialties to lead a meaningful career. Alternative medicine specialties include holistic health, acupuncture, Chinese medicine, naturopathic medicine, massage therapy, herbal medicine, homeopathic medicine, yoga, Ayurvedic medicine, Reiki medicine, chiropractic medicine, meditation, hypnosis, oriental body therapy, crystal healing, natural childbirth, aromatherapy, and biofeedback. There are a variety of specialties and students interested in a particular area should select a school that offers a strong program in that specific specialty.

What to Expect

Alternative medicine degree programs provide students with a solid educational background on alternative healthcare approaches. Undergraduate degree programs require general education courses in English, science, mathematics, composition, history, art, and electives. Core coursework varies by program, but many alternative medicine programs require courses in alternative treatment methods, holistic health, acupuncture, stress management, hand reflexology, herbalism, kinesiology, and anatomy and physiology. Master degree programs prepare students to pursue positions as alternative medicine practitioners. Students must have basic biology, physics, chemistry, and math courses. Most master degree programs also require internships or clinical assistantships for students to gain hands-on experience. Doctorate programs are more rigorous and focus on more in-depth study and prepare graduates for research and teaching positions.

The End Result

Alternative medicine degrees open the door to a wide variety of career opportunities in many different fields. Careers for alternative medicine graduates include:

Holistic Health Practitioner
Massage Therapist
Herbalist
Acupuncturist
Ayurveda Practitioner
Chiropractor
Aroma Therapist
Holistic Nutritionist
Naturopathic Medical Practitioner
Counselor
Reiki Practitioner
Comfort Consultant
Holistic Health Manager
Physical Therapist

A career in alternative medicine will be rewarding for individuals who are very interested in alternative and natural treatment methods. Alternative medicine professionals believe in the harmony of the body, mind, and spirit to prevent disease and illness and promote good health and wellness. They counsel patients on lifestyle changes to help decrease the risk of disease and illness. Alternative medicine professionals must be compassionate and sensitive and be able to make patients very comfortable.

(1) SOURCE: U.S. National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics
(2) SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2008-2009 Edition
(3) SOURCE: Payscale.com, Salary Survey Report

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