Certified Herbalist: Salary Info, Job Duties and Requirements

While certified herbalists may not legally practice medicine in the United States, they may work as consultants, researchers, educators, or producers of herbal products. This career field may be appealing to those with an interest in using alternative or natural therapies to promote health.

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Certified Herbalist Salary Info

According to Payscale.com, herbalists earned a median annual salary of $43,920, as of November 2013. The American Herbalists Guild, an association of herbal practitioners, provides an even wider salary range for herbalists, with an average salary from $20,000 to $120,000 annually (www.americanherbalistsguild.com).

Certified Herbalist Job Duties

Certified herbalists usually focus on one of three kinds of herbal medicines; these areas include Western herbs native to Europe or North America, traditional Chinese herbs native to Asia, or Ayurvedic herbs native to India. Herbalists may participate in all stages of the herbal medicine process, from growth to the manufacturing of raw herbs. Herbs, which may include any part of a plant, may be cultivated or gathered in the wild. Once they have the raw herbs, herbalists may process one or more herbs into various products, such as pills, capsules, powders, and/or tinctures.

Due to the lack of national or state licensing, herbalists may not diagnose or treat illnesses. Professionals in this field are limited to a teaching or consulting role when it comes to their knowledge of herbs. They may teach herbal courses at colleges or medicine schools, and counsel people on how to use herbs to maintain health. While herbalists must complete some education and training to become certified, those who wish to expand their role may continue their education in a Doctor of Naturopathy degree program and become a licensed health care practitioner.

Certified Herbalist Requirements

While no official license to practice medicine exists for herbalists, they may become certified by certain schools or professional organizations. The East West School of Planetary Herbology confers the East West Certified Herbalist designation on students who successfully complete a number of requirements, including herb and science courses, 400 clinical hours, three presentations, and 12 quizzes (www.planetherbs.com).

The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine offers a Chinese herbology certification, which may be attained by passing three exams and meeting certain formal education and apprenticeship requirements (www.nccaom.org). The American University of Complementary Medicine offers an herbology certificate program that includes coursework in Ayurvedic herbs, as well as Western and Chinese herbs (www.aum.org).

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