Herbology Certificate and Certification Program Information

Learn about the requirements and courses involved in earning a Certificate in Herbology. Find out about careers that use this knowledge, the employment outlook, potential salaries and how to become a certified herbologist.

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Essential Information

Herbology, also known as medical herbalism and botanical medicine, is a form of alternative medicine that seeks to prevent and treat illness through the use of plants and plant extracts. Education in this field includes herbology certificate programs, which are most commonly offered through for-profit schools focusing on natural healing and complementary medicine. Students interested in enrolling in such a program should first make sure that their chosen school is accredited by an independent organization or licensed by the state.

Courses in an herbology certificate program introduce students to hundreds of types of plants and herbs, as well as their potential medicinal uses. Many herbology programs also include a clinical component or supervised internship, where students put their training to practical use treating patients.

Education Prerequisites

Educational prerequisites vary greatly for herbology certificate programs, depending upon the goals of each particular school. Introductory herbology certificate programs have no prerequisites. Other certificate programs are designed only for licensed acupuncturists or students already enrolled in an acupuncture degree program.

Program Coursework

Many of the courses included in a typical herbology certificate program build upon a previous understanding of alternative medicine theory. Students enrolled in such courses cover topics specifically related to plants, herbs and related treatments. Some examples include:

  • Introduction to herbology
  • Individual herbs
  • Herbal formula
  • Therapeutic strategies
  • Herbal toxicity and safety
  • Herbal clinical observation
  • Herbal clinical practicum

Popular Career Options

A certificate of completion in herbology can provide a credential to individuals in several positions in alternative health. Some of these include:

  • Acupuncturist
  • Herbalist
  • Herbal manufacturer
  • Holistic practitioner

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), health diagnosing and treating practitioners in general could expect job growth of 20%, faster than the average for all occupations, from 2012-2022. Payscale.com reported a median annual salary of $46,825 for acupuncturists as of July 2014. Salary figures for herbalists, herbal manufacturers and holistic practitioners were not available from either the BLS or Payscale.

Certification and Continuing Education

Just as some institutions of higher learning offer herbology certificate programs, others offer herbology certification programs. No real difference exists between the courses and program outcomes of certificate and certification programs offered through schools.

The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine offers a national certification credential in Chinese Herbology. Three exams are required for the certification; to be eligible to sit for the exams, certification applicants must have completed more than 2,000 hours of an accredited educational program, including 410 clinical hours. Alternatively, a certification applicant can study through a 2-year apprenticeship.

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