PhD in Holistic Health and Medicine: Degree Info for Doctoral Students
Holistic health is a medical alternative that focuses on a whole body approach to healing, medicine and overall health. While holistic health and medicine is not offered as a doctoral degree program, students can enroll in a mind-body medicine Ph.D. program. Such programs prepare students to research, teach and practice alternative medicine and apply holistic health theories to the promotion of physical and emotional wellness.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Mind-Body Medicine
This area of academic study focuses on innovative alternatives to traditional medicine. In traditional approaches to medicine, physicians focus on the area of the body being affected. In the holistic mind-body medicine approach, practitioners and physicians use non-traditional healing methods that focus on the mind, spirit and body as a whole rather than on just one area of the body. Students in this degree program study healthcare systems, mind-body approaches to grief, loss and stress, psychophysiology and ethics in healthcare. Students attend seminars, complete a clinical practicum and write a doctoral thesis that demonstrates mastery in the field.
Admission to a Ph.D. program in mind-body medicine requires a bachelor's and master's degree from an accredited institution. Other admission requirements include a high undergraduate or graduate GPA, academic and professional references, a personal statement essay and a resume.
Coursework in this program includes the comprehensive study of physical and emotional health through non-traditional healing and wellness methods. Typical courses in this program include:
Mind-body medicine and holistic health professionals are employed in a variety of health care settings. Many graduates of this Ph.D. program pursue a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) and become practicing physicians. Popular career choices for graduates include:
- Massage therapist
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of November 2013, did not keep statistics specifically on holistic medicine occupations. The BLS projected that job growth for health diagnosing and treating practitioners in general would be 26% from 2010-2020, which is faster than the average for all occupations. In addition, healthcare support occupations could expect much faster-than-average job growth of 34% during this decade.
Massage therapists could expect job growth of 20% and, as of May 2012, these professionals made a median annual salary of $35,970. Another example are chiropractors who, the BLS reported, could expect job growth of 28% from 2010-2020 and who made a median annual salary of $66,160 as of May 2012.
Dietitians and nutritionists could expect 20% job growth and earned a median annual salary of $55,240. For psychologists, the job growth projection was 22%. Clinical, counseling and school psychologists earned a median annual salary of $67,650 as of May 2012, the BLS reported.
Continuing Education Information
Mind-body medicine Ph.D. graduates who also hold a M.D. or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine can pursue board certification from the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine (ABIHM). Board certification requires a professional reference, autobiographical essay, in-person interview and passing scores on an examination. The ABIHM also offers continuing education credits through an annual Science and Clinical Application of Integrative Holistic Medicine conference.
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