Bachelor's Degree in Alt Medicine
A bachelor's degree in alternative medicine qualifies individuals for entry-level work as an assistant in an alternative medicine practice, such as a chiropractic office, acupuncturist or naturopathic physician's office. Individuals could also work for social assistance programs and at health and fitness companies. Graduates can obtain special certification in alternative medicine or pursue advanced degrees to improve their career opportunities.
Bachelor's Degree in Alternative Medicine
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. Also offered as complementary or wellness medicine, these programs teach students investigative techniques, critical thinking, natural healing arts, herbology and nutrition. Prospective students typically need a have a high school diploma or GED certificate for admission, and could need to meet minimum grade point average requirements.
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
Graduates with a bachelor's degree in alternative medicine could work as an assistant in an alternative medical office, a representative in the health and wellness industry or as part of an employee assistance program. Individuals can also pursue other career options following additional certification or state licensure. These could include:
- 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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