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Holistic Healing Practitioner: Job Description & Career Info

Holistic healing practitioners include licensed acupuncturists (LAs), chiropractic doctors (DCs), homeopaths, massage therapists, medical doctors (MDs) and naturopathic doctors (NDs). You can learn about the various options, salary expectation and employment outlook by reading further.

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Career Definition

Holistic healing practitioners include alternative medicine practitioners who address disease as an imbalance in the physical, emotional, spiritual or environmental components of a person's life. The practice of holistic healing involves treating the causes of illness rather than alleviating symptoms, according to the American Holistic Medicine Association, www.holisticmedicine.org. Some holistic healing practitioners are physicians who blend conventional and alternative medicine practices.

How to Become a Holistic Healing Practitioner

Required Education

The level of education varies depending on the specific field of specialty. Most holistic healing practitioners have completed programs in their particular field of holistic healing or a more general program that teaches a diverse field of subjects, such as accupressure, herbal medicine, homeopathic medicine, massage, nutrition, osteopathy and others.

Licensure

Licensing requirements vary by state for each of the fields within the holistic healing practices. For example, physicians focusing on holistic healing have bachelor's degrees and also attend chiropractic, naturopathic, osteopathic or traditional medical school, which each take approximately four years to complete plus several years of residency training, before completing a licensure exam.

Skills Required

Aspiring holistic healing practitioners should be interested in helping people with illnesses and people who are well but interested in enhancing their qualities of life. The American Holistic Medicine Association, www.holistichealing.org, emphasizes that holistic healing practitioners model healthy practices and lead by example.

Career and Economic Outlook

As of September 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov, did not keep statistics specifically for the holistic healer occupation. The BLS did report that healthcare and social assistance employment would grow by 5 million jobs from 2012-2022, which is much faster than other occupations. Massage therapists could expect job growth of 23% in this time period, physicians and surgeons could expect job growth of 18% and chiropractors could expect 15% job growth.

Earnings for holistic healers vary by their specialization. As of May 2012, workers in healthcare support occupations earned an average annual wage of $27,780, massage therapists earned an average annual wage of $40,350, physicians and surgeons earned an average of $184,820 annually and chiropractors earned an average salary of $79,550, the BLS reported.

Alternate Career Options

Physical Therapist Assistant and Aide

These assistants are usually required to earn an associate's degree, while aides may secure employment with a high school diploma and learn their skills while on the job. These professionals are supervised by physical therapists and work with patients recovering from injuries or illnesses who are striving to manage their pain and regain mobility. A much faster than average growth of 41% in this field overall was projected by the BLS, from 2012-2022. Assistants earned a median annual salary of $52,160 in 2012, said the BLS, while aides earned $23,880.

Occupational Therapist

At least a master's degree is required to enter this field, along with licensing or registration; some of these therapists also earn doctoral degrees. Their work involves using everyday activities to help disabled or injured patients improve or recover skills. A much faster than average employment growth of 29% was expected by the BLS during the 2012-2022 decade, for this profession. The median annual wage of these workers was $75,400 in 2012.

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