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Masters in Herbology: Degree Program Overviews

Individuals interested in emphasizing natural drug remedies, in addition to using herbs and foods to prevent disease and promote holistic wellness, might benefit from a master's degree program in herbology. Programs recognized by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) offer stringent training for aspiring master herbalists.

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Master's Degree in Herbology

Graduate-level degree programs in herbology, sometimes referred to as herbal or Oriental medicine, train individuals to use herbs and other natural plants to improve and maintain health and wellness. Because herbology is a mostly unregulated science, individuals considering a master's degree in this field should choose a program that's accredited by the ACAOM. These 3-year degree programs prepare students to sit for the National Commission for Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) examination.

Educational Prerequisites

Most accredited master's degree programs in herbology require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Applicants typically must have an undergraduate grade-point average of 2.5 or higher, in addition to completing basic science courses. They also generally must complete formal applications, submit letters of recommendation and write personal essays.

Program Coursework

A master's degree program in herbology teaches students about the history and principles of herbal medicine and herbal formulas, as well as internal, external and mental diseases. Students generally complete courses in herb classification, detoxification, biochemistry and herbal healing. They also might take the following courses:

  • Ayurveda
  • Digestion principles
  • Acupuncture
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology

Popular Careers

Master herbalists often consult with pharmacies, physicians' offices and health food stores. Many are self-employed and develop their own herbal formulas. Graduates of a master's degree program in herbology might find employment in one of the following positions:

  • Holistic wellness consultant
  • Health food store owner
  • Herbalist writer
  • Herbology instructor

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't list herbalists separately, herbalists are listed among health diagnosing and treating practitioners, all other. The mean annual wages for these workers were $85,740 in May 2012.

Continuing Education Information

NCCAOM requires certified herbalists to recertify every four years by completing 60 credits of competency maintenance and professional developmental activities. Candidates must also complete a formal recertification application and pay renewal fees. Additionally, three schools have earned NCCAOM accreditation for their Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine programs; however, accreditation of doctoral programs is only a pilot process and has not yet been recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education.

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