Bachelor's Degree in Alt Medicine
Read about alternative medicine programs that are found at the bachelor's degree level. Explore various forms of alternative medicine and see the coursework that is offered. Review a list of career paths and check the employment statistics for specialists.
Also offered as complementary or wellness medicine studies, alternative medicine bachelor's programs teach students investigative techniques, critical-thinking skills, natural healing arts, herbology and nutrition. Prospective students typically need a have a high school diploma or GED certificate for admission to this type of 4-year program. They could also need to meet minimum grade point average requirements. Hands-on training and internships may be available.
Alternative medicine is the term for medical practices that do not fall under traditional Western medical care provided by licensed doctors, registered nurses or physical therapists. This type of medicine utilizes natural healing practices to promote holistic health and wellness. Alternative medicine could replace standard medical treatments or work in tandem with them.
Individuals pursuing a bachelor's degree in alternative medicine might study topics in behavioral science and standard health care as well as theories and principles of alternative treatments, such as American medicine, energy healing, massage, naturopathy and Chinese medicine. Common course topics include:
- Feng Shui
- Ayurvedic medicine
- Stress Reduction
- Herbal medicine
- Therapeutic massage
- Global health
Popular Career Options
A bachelor's degree in alternative medicine qualifies individuals for entry-level work as assistants in alternative medicine practices such as chiropractic, acupuncturist or naturopathic physicians' offices. They could become representatives in the health and wellness industry or in an employee-assistance program.
Individuals could also work for social assistance programs and at health and fitness companies. Graduates might obtain special certification in alternative medicine, acquire state licensure or pursue advanced degrees to improve their career opportunities, which could include but are not limited to:
- Massage therapist
- Reiki master
- Yoga instructor
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not generally report about careers in alternative medicine, it does provide career and salary information about massage therapists and fitness instructors, which could include those that teach yoga. The most recent employment figures supplied by the BLS indicate that massage therapists could experience 23% growth from 2012 to 2022, while fitness instructors could see 13% growth over the same time period (www.bls.gov). As of May 2012, according to the BLS, massage therapists were paid a median annual wage of $35,970 and fitness instructors $31,720.
O*Net OnLine reports that acupuncturists are projected to see a 10% to 19% increase in job opportunities from 2010 to 2020. These workers earned a median annual salary of $72,710 in 2012, says O*Net.
Continuing Education Information
Graduates seeking continuing education might consider pursuing medical or nursing school to enhance their practical skills and employment options. Professionals with a bachelor's degree could also apply to a master's degree program in alternative medicine. Advanced study could prepare them to work in alternative medicine careers, such as homeopathy, acupuncture, holistic nursing or holistic veterinary medicine. Many of these occupations require ongoing continuing education and licensure, which vary by state.
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