Herbalist Certificate Program Info
Herbalist certificate programs can prepare individuals for work using herbs for healing. These types of programs provide students with an understanding of the properties of various types of herbs as well as their applications. Students may find programs at the undergraduate and post-baccalaureate levels.
Undergraduate Herbalist Certificate
In an undergraduate certificate program in herbal studies, sometimes called herbal therapy, students learn how herbs work and the effects they have upon the body. Programs cover the combination of herbal treatments with different alternative healing methods, such as Ayurveda, Chinese medicine and Native American techniques. Students learn about handling and preparing herbs as well. There are usually no specific admissions prerequisites to enter a program, but applicants are advised to have some prior herbal knowledge.
An herbalism certificate program introduces students to historical uses of herbs and herbs' relationships to traditional medicine practices. Students learn about herbal properties and how herbs react with body systems. A program may cover topics that include:
- Herbal classification
- Herb dosage
- Herb preparation
- Plant chemistry
- Chinese herbs
- Body systems
- Pediatric use of herbs
- Geriatric use of herbs
Graduate Herbalist Certificate
Post-baccalaureate certificate programs may be called medical herbalism or Chinese herbology. Some programs may be designed just for individuals already working as acupuncturist professionals, but other programs are open to nurses, doctors, chiropractors, pharmacists and other healthcare practitioners. Completing a certificate program can allow acupuncturists to legally use herbs in their practice without having to complete a full program in Oriental medicine, and it can expand all healthcare workers' knowledge of treatment options.
In a program, students learn about the commonly used herbal medicines. Students discover how herbal medicines may interact with prescription or over-the-counter medicines, and they can learn about herbal evaluation and clinical trial procedures. Hands-on herbal identification, harvesting and preparation may occur within campus herb gardens and labs.
To enter a program, schools usually require students to have at least a bachelor's degree and be professionally certified or licensed healthcare workers. Some schools may accept experience in lieu of a bachelor's degree on a case-by-case basis.
Introductory courses may cover herbal properties in relation to health and illness. Experiential learning in herb manufacturing and clinical work may be part of the curriculum. Students can learn how to create herbal formulas and safely administer herbs as treatment. Other topics covered in a course may include:
- Herbal formulas
- Commercial herbal medicines
- Herbal usage safety practices
- Herbal medicine history
- Herbal product evaluation
Continuing Education Information
In some states, those using herbology in a professional setting as an acupuncturist must be appropriately licensed. Not all states regulate herbology practice. Students who complete an herbology certificate program may qualify for certification through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). The NCCAOM offers the Diplomate of Chinese Herbology designation (www.nccaom.org). This designation may meet some states licensing requirements.
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