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Online Herbal Medicine Degrees by Program Level

Herbal medicine degree programs are rarely available online. Students can occasionally find diploma programs through select schools; this article discusses diploma programs in detail. Herbal medicine is often incorporated into alternative medicine degree programs, which are also rarely offered in a distance-learning format.

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Essential Information

Colleges and universities that offer herbal medicine courses, diploma and certificate programs online are rare. These programs don't generally include general education requirements and can be completed in a fixed period. When choosing a degree program that includes courses in herbal medicine, consider your career goals and check with your state to find out about any licensing or certification requirements.

Related Degree Programs

Some alternative on-campus educational programs include:

  • Certificate in Complementary and Alternative Medicine
  • Certificate in Holistic Healthcare
  • Associate's degree in holistic health
  • Bachelor's degree in herbal science
  • Bachelor's degree in health and wellness
  • Master's degree in acupuncture and Oriental medicine
  • Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine degree

Online Herbal Medicine Diploma Program

This program focuses on the education of herbal medicine principles for the working professional. Students who enroll in this type of degree program often come from career fields such as psychology, social work, clinical medicine or pharmacy. The program covers topics like holistic healing, human anatomy and basic medical terminology. In addition, students gain a basic understanding of the business side of holistic medicine. Upon completion of the diploma program in herbal medicine, graduates hold the title of master herbalist.

Program Information and Requirements

Students can expect to enroll in around 40 credit hours of work. This type of program can generally be completed within a fixed period of five years or less. Schools often recommend a minimum weekly study period, but don't have strict requirements due to an understanding that enrolled students are also working professionals. Students can find these programs available entirely online but, as stated above, they are more readily available entirely on campus.

Students enrolled in the online programs must have access to a computer that has high-speed Internet. It is also helpful if the computer has an updated operating system and Web browser.

Online Herbal Medicine Diploma Program Courses

Courses are asynchronous, meaning they can be taken at any time. There are no general education requirements.

Herbal Medicine Materials Course

Students can expect to enroll in multiple courses that increase exponentially in the depth of specific herbal studies. The courses cover the various botanicals used in holistic treatments and students gain an increasing understanding of each botanical's application. Herbal classifications include diuretic, cathartic, astringent and alternative.

Holistic Business Course

Enrollment in this course will give the student an understanding of how to market to potential clients, open a business and communicate with others within the herbal medicine industry. In addition, the course talks about complying with regulations specified by the student's respective local government.

Herbalism Basics Course

This course covers the history and cultivation of the use of herbal medicine in holistic healing. Students also gain a basic understanding of the various applications of therapeutic botanical herbs.

Career Information for Graduates

The diploma can lead to a career as a clinical herbalist, herbal consultant or herbal products marketer. According to the American Herbalist Guild, the average annual income of an herbalist can range from $20,000 to $120,000 (www.americanherbalistguild.com). Some master herbalists work directly with physicians in helping to diagnose and treat patients. The same source states that a large number of herbalists earn an income working as consultants, teachers and writers for herbal products.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) did not publish job growth or salary statistics specifically for herbalists as of November 2013. The BLS projected job growth of 26%, faster than the average for all occupations, for health diagnosing and treating practitioners in general from 2010-2020. As of May 2012, the BLS reported, these practitioners earned a median annual salary of $72,710.

Continuing Education Information

There are graduate-level certificate programs available for those who wish to pursue a more in-depth education, but they are rarely possible online. These certificate programs are designed for those who already work as master herbalists and have a desire to further their knowledge. There are also master's-level alternative medicine degree programs available that incorporate herbal medicine into the curriculum.

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