Alternative Medicine Certification, Certificate and Diploma Programs

Learn about graduate certificate programs in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Find out about continuing education and career options in CAM.

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Essential Information

Alternative medicine covers a wide variety of modalities, but at the core of all of these options is the basic philosophy of treating the whole person. Certificate programs in alternative medicine are available at natural health colleges and some traditional universities. Alternative medicine practitioners can be found in hospitals, clinics, private practices and even colleges.

Complementary and alternative medicine graduate certificate programs take 1-2 years to complete. These programs are designed to enhance knowledge of CAM and teach practitioners how to treat patients looking for CAM remedies. Some schools require certificate students to take part in clinical practica.

Educational Prerequisites

CAM graduate certificate programs require either a bachelor's or a master's degree, depending on the institution and program. Prospective students are asked to submit a letter of intent with the application. Some graduate certificate programs require a criminal background check.

Program Coursework

Coursework covers a wide spectrum of techniques, methods and philosophies related to the practice of complementary and alternative medicine, including massage, meditation and nutrition.

  • Wellness counseling
  • Mind-body medicine
  • Body-based methods and techniques
  • Foundation for promoting healthy lifestyles
  • Herbal and homeopathic medicines

Popular Careers

Many people who obtain a Certificate in Complementary and Alternative Medicine are health or human services professionals interested in expanding their understanding of CAM. Workers who are not directly involved in medicine might earn this certificate in order to expand their skill set.

  • Nurse
  • Psychologist
  • Physician
  • Physician assistant

Continuing Education

Many degree programs are available for individuals wishing to study alternative medicine more in-depth. Individuals can find bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs, including a Bachelor of Science in Herbal Sciences, a Master of Science in Oriental Medicine, a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. These degree programs take 2-8 years to complete. Some programs might require potential students to have prerequisite courses in psychology and the sciences.

Within the U.S, five alternative medicine colleges have been accredited by a regional accrediting agency and are members of the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Colleges. Additionally, with the growing popularity of alternative medicine, many traditional universities are beginning to offer CAM or related programs. Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree programs are offered through 25 medical schools.

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