Bachelor of Alternative Medicine: Degree Program Overviews
Alternative medicine is sometimes known as holistic health, although some feel the two terms are not quite the same. Long lists of alternative therapies may be found. Most will include hypnotherapy, herbal sciences, holistic health, Chinese medicine, chiropractic, osteopathy, homeopathy, acupuncture and massage therapy. Some of these (e.g., chiropractic, osteopathy) require a doctor's degree, most require only a certificate or a diploma. A bachelor's degree is available for a few.
Bachelor's Degrees in Alternative Medicine
Some bachelor's degrees are labeled as a degree in alternative medicine, while others are called a degree in health and wellness, wellness and alternative medicine, complementary medicine, or holistic health. Bachelor's degrees in herbal science are also available; however, the studies of acupuncture and oriental medicine are generally only offered on a master's level. Many of these are offered online, and a large number are offered on the campuses of major colleges.
Some schools offer both a bachelor's and master's program in oriental medicine, but the bachelor's degree is not awarded until the master's has been earned, when both are awarded simultaneously. Bachelor's degrees are not offered in most of the specific therapies listed as alternative therapies, such as aromatherapy, guided imagery and yoga. Conversely, many of them are offered as a minor or a course in a larger alternative medicine or holistic health program.
Bachelor's degrees in alternative medicine require only that the student have the credentials, usually a high school diploma or GED, to enter a college for any degree. There are no prerequisites specific to these degrees.
Students who pursue an alternative medicine program explore concepts related to the above-mentioned practices as well as learning about the basics of Western medicine. Areas of study for this degree in alternative medicine generally include:
- Basic chemistry
- Alternative medicine and science
- Nutrition and aging
- Chinese medicine
Popular Career Options
A wide variety of careers are open to students of alternative medicine; however, the specific careers available to a graduate will depend largely on the emphasis of the program he or she followed. Careers for bachelor's degree graduates may include:
- Ayurveda practitioner
- Biofeedback therapist
- Energy medicine practitioner
- Holistic nurse
- Massage therapist
- Medical assistant for natural healing professional
- Personal trainer
- Spa director
- Wellness coach
- Yoga instructor
Continuing Education Information
Ability to practice in some of the more commonly understood alternative medicines will require the student to get a higher degree. Chiropractic and osteopathy required doctorate degrees, although the number of years of study required for each is very different from the other. A practice in Chinese medicine will necessitate a master's degree, unless it is included as part of a doctoral-level chiropractic or osteopathic degree.
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