Natural Health Training in Michigan with School Overviews

Research natural health programs in Michigan, which currently has more than ten colleges and universities offering programs. Read an overview of programs, tuition info and degree options for these schools and decide which one is right for you.

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Essential Information

According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), practitioners associated with this field include acupuncturists, chiropractors, homeopathy specialists, massage therapists, and naturopathic physicians. Students in Michigan interested in completing a formal education program in a natural health field may earn undergraduate or graduate certificates, as well as associate's, bachelor's, or doctoral degrees in the field. Such programs often incorporate hands-on training as well as a practicum element, such as fieldwork experiences or internships.

Career Requirements

To obtain a license in Michigan, massage therapists and osteopaths must undergo a criminal background check and be fingerprinted. Additional requirements for massage therapists include one of the following: a satisfactory score on an exam approved by the Michigan Board of Massage Therapy, completion of an approved educational program, five years of practice, membership in a professional organization or a combination of three years of practice and education.

Postgraduate requirements for osteopaths include one year of professional experience in a program that's approved by the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine and a satisfactory score on the COMLEX exam.


Baker College

Baker College is a career-training school, and the flagship of this 9-campus institution is located in Flint. The school offers training in two areas associated with natural health: massage therapy and chiropractic assisting.

The certificate program in therapeutic massage requires students to complete 58 quarter credit hours, while the associate's program requires 94. In addition to an exam preparation course, the curriculum includes topics in energy-based, sports and therapeutic massage techniques, anatomy, pathology and pharmacology. Students in the associate's program also take courses in complementary modalities and integrative bodywork and complete a clinical externship. In addition to the Flint campus, Baker College offers state-approved massage therapy programs at its Allen Park, Muskegon, Clinton Township, Jackson, Owosso and Port Huron campuses.

Students who enroll in the associate's program for chiropractic assistants acquire clinical skills in patient testing and treatment, x-ray technology and recording of vital signs.

  • Programs Offered: Certificate in Therapeutic Massage,
    Associate of Applied Science in Chiropractic Assistant,
    Associate of Applied Science in Therapeutic Massage
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $7,740 (undergraduate)*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb

Delta College

The main campus of Delta College is located in University Center. Unique to this school is its membership in the National League for Innovation in the Community College, an international education organization dedicated to institutional development and transformation.

The 6-credit certificate program in massage therapy is specifically designed for licensed nurses and physical therapists, registered occupational therapists and graduates of accredited physical therapy assistant programs. Students receive training in a wide variety of therapies, including acupressure, Swedish massage, trigger point therapy, reflexology and Shiatsu. A similar course of study is also available through the 6-credit post-associate program in massage therapy.

As of March 2013, this is the only community college on the list whose massage therapy programs are not approved by the Michigan Board of Massage Therapy. However, successful completion of the program can provide students with the training they need to practice in Michigan and qualify them for the National Certification Examination in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.

  • Programs Offered: Certificate of Achievement in Massage Therapy,
    Post-Associate Certificate in Massage Therapy
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $2,990 in-district; $4,460 in-state; $6,410 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; rural

Lansing Community College

This Lansing community college offers programs in career, personal and workforce development, developmental education and general education. It is the only public college in the state with a program in massage therapy that's accredited by the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation.

In addition to standard clinical techniques and exam preparation, the 41- to 46-credit certificate program includes topics in Asian body therapy, infant massage, polarity and positional release. Lower-level health and wellness courses not associated with the certificate program also provide students with information about medical alternatives, stress management, therapeutic touch and yoga.

  • Programs Offered: Individual courses in health and wellness,
    Certificate of Achievement in Therapeutic Massage
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $2,630 in-district; $5,060 in-state; $7,490 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; midsize city

Michigan State University

In 2013, U.S. News & World Report ranked Michigan State University's College of Osteopathic Medicine in East Lansing 11th for its primary care program. The university is the only one in the United States whose on-campus medical schools award degrees to allopathic and osteopathic physicians.

Through the College of Osteopathic Medicine, aspiring physicians who are interested in a holistic approach to patient care can pursue a 4-year doctoral program. Requirements include both a pre-clerkship and a clinical clerkship phase with six semesters of on-campus coursework in science and six semesters of community-based training in clinics, hospitals and private medical practices.

Relevant courses of study also include a 120-credit undergraduate program in nutritional sciences. The program is designed to teach students how diet can be used to prevent and treat disease and covers topics like medical nutrition therapy, histology, biochemistry and pharmacology.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Science,
    Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $12,622 in-state; $32,580 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; small city

Northern Michigan University

Northern Michigan University in Marquette is located in the state's Upper Peninsula, and even at the freshman level, instruction is provided by full-time faculty members. Through the Physics Department, students can pursue pre-professional programs in chiropractic, medical and physician assistant services. Notable resources include the Seaborg Science Complex, one of the Midwest's leading university science centers.

The pre-chiropractic program is designed to prepare students for chiropractic college, and in accordance with the Council on Chiropractic Education's guidelines, includes coursework in human anatomy, biology, chemistry and exercise. In addition to in-class work, students might have the opportunity to attend weekly clinical discussions at a nearby hospital or visit regional medical schools.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor's Degree in Pre-Chiropractic Studies
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $8,709 in-state; $13,605 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; remote town

Oakland Community College

As the largest of Michigan's 28 community colleges, this Oakland County school has five locations, including the Highland Lakes campus in Waterford. At Highland Lakes, students can pursue programs in exercise science, massage therapy and nursing, among other fields of study.

The certificate and degree programs require 43 and 65 credits of respective coursework, and students pursuing either credential participate in 800 hours of clinical externships. In particular, future professionals learn to administer massage therapies for special populations, including those with chronic physical or psychological disorders and the terminally ill.

  • Programs Offered: Massage Therapy Certificate,
    Associate of Applied Science in Massage Therapy
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $857 in-district; $1,504 in-state; $2,110 out-of-state (undergraduate tuition only)**
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; large suburb

Schoolcraft College

This is a 2-year, open-door college in Livonia that offers programs in allied health education, massage, medical assisting and nursing. Undergraduates in both the certificate and degree programs in massage therapy pursue an in-depth study of human body systems and participate in two student clinics. The certificate program can be completed in three semesters, and students in the associate's program take additional courses in anatomy, biology, communication and human relations, among other subjects. In addition to providing professional training, the associate's program can help students acquire the academic background they need to pursue a 4-year degree in health or medical studies.

  • Programs Offered: Certificate of Completion in Massage Therapy,
    Associate of Applied Science in Massage Therapy
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $2,960 in-district; $4,160 out-of-district; $5,990 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; small city

St. Clair County Community College

St. Clair's 25-acre campus is located alongside the Black River in Port Huron. In partnership with the Lakewood School of Therapeutic Massage, the Health and Human Services Department offers a 2-year program in massage therapy that requires 65-67 credits to complete. The curriculum includes 31 credits of general education and anatomy courses at St. Clair and 32 credits of professional training at Lakewood.

  • Programs Offered: Associate of Applied Arts and Science in Therapeutic Massage
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $3,358 in-district; $6,132 in-state; $8,736 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; small suburb

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

The Medical School in Ann Arbor was established in 1850, and the school was the first in the country to own and run a university-affiliated hospital. In alignment with NCCAM, the 4-year medical program provides instruction in alternative medicine, biologically-based treatment, energy therapy, manipulative therapy and mind-body intervention. In particular, the Department of Family Medicine offers training in acupuncture, manual medicine and massage, and students can apply for a 1-year Integrative Medicine Fellowship. Also, recent continuing education conferences included a discussion of integrative medicine and primary care.

  • Programs Offered: Doctor of Medicine,
    Integrative Medicine Fellowship
  • Tuition & Fees (2013-2014): $29,832 to $30,118 per year in-state; $47,600 to $48,062 per year out-of-state (medical school)***
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; midsize city

Western Michigan University

A public research institution in Kalamazoo, Western Michigan University offers one of the country's few programs in integrative holistic health and wellness, including an undergraduate minor and a graduate certificate.

The 18-credit minor requires a prerequisite in choice and behavior, after which students take courses in global holism, ethics, counseling or interpersonal relationships. To fulfill the 9-credit elective requirement, they can pursue studies in aging, biofeedback, meditation and spirituality, among other topics.

The graduate certificate also requires 18 credits to compete and includes an introduction and a seminar in holistic health, along with two professional field experiences. Through nine credits of electives, students can also receive training in body-mind nutrition, tai chi and yoga.

  • Programs Offered: Minor in Integrative Holistic Health and Wellness,
    Graduate Certificate in Integrative Holistic Health and Wellness
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $9,982 in-state; $23,262 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; small city

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Natural Health Programs Offered Tuition & Fees
Baker College of Flint 4-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb Certificate in Therapeutic Massage,
Associate of Applied Science in Chiropractic Assistant,
Associate of Applied Science in Therapeutic Massage
$7,740 (undergraduate, 2012-2013)*
Delta College 2-year, public; rural Certificate of Achievement in Massage Therapy,
Post-Associate Certificate in Massage Therapy
$2,990 in-district; $4,460 in-state; $6,410 out-of-state (undergraduate, 2012-2013)*
Lansing Community College 2-year, public; midsize city Individual courses in health and wellness,
Certificate of Achievement in Therapeutic Massage
$2,630 in-district; $5,060 in-state; $7,490 out-of-state (undergraduate, 2012-2013)*
Michigan State University 4-year, public; small city Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Science,
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
$12,622 in-state; $32,580 out-of-state (undergraduate, 2012-2013)*
Northern Michigan University 4-year, public; remote town Bachelor's Degree in Pre-Chiropractic Studies $8,709 in-state; $13,605 out-of-state (undergraduate, 2012-2013)*
Oakland Community College 2-year, public; large suburb Massage Therapy Certificate,
Associate of Applied Science in Massage Therapy
$857 in-district; $1,504 in-state; $2,110 out-of-state (undergraduate tuition only, 2012-2013)**
Schoolcraft College 2-year, public; small city Certificate of Completion in Massage Therapy,
Associate of Applied Science in Massage Therapy
$2,960 in-district; $4,160 out-of-district; $5,990 out-of-state (undergraduate, 2012-2013)*
St. Clair County Community College 2-year, public; small suburb Associate of Applied Arts and Science in Therapeutic Massage $3,358 in-district; $6,132 in-state; $8,736 out-of-state (undergraduate, 2012-2013)*
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor 4-year, public; midsize city Doctor of Medicine,
Integrative Medicine Fellowship
$29,832 to $30,118 per year in-state; $47,600 to $48,062 per year out-of-state (medical school, 2013-2014)***
Western Michigan University4-year, public; small city Minor in Integrative Holistic Health and Wellness,
Graduate Certificate in Integrative Holistic Health and Wellness
$9,982 in-state; $23,262 out-of-state (undergraduate, 2012-2013)*

Sources: *NCES College Navigator, **Oakland Community College, ***University of Michigan - Ann Arbor.

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