Looking for a healthcare career that is more in touch with nature than traditional medicine? Here is a profile of pursuing an herbalist career. This is a perfect career path for those who are interested in homeopathic remedies and holistic, natural healthcare.
Today, more and more people are drawn to natural and traditional medicine. Healers around the world have been using herbal remedies for thousands of years and that appeals to so many people. Today, medical doctors seem to be more focused on synthetics and pharmaceuticals, and many people think the better route to optimum health is instead a return to the basics.
Although programs for becoming an herbalist are not widespread in the United States, there are still quite a few schools that offer curriculum in this discipline. As the field becomes more and more popular, more will surely appear.
What Is an Herbalist?
An herbalist is someone who practices herbal therapy. Herbalists use plants for therapeutic purposes to both treat and prevent disease and to promote overall health and wellness in both humans and pets.
Herbs have been used around the world for health purposes for centuries. Two ancient medical systems, India’s Ayurveda and China’s traditional Chinese medicine, focus on herbs as remedies and as preventative tools. In America, Native Americans also used herbs to help heal the sick and for other health reasons.
There are medicinal plants all over the world and this leads many herbalists to believe that there are natural solutions for almost all health issues. Some herbalists are purists in this realm; they will only seek modern medical assistance in drastic and emergency situations.
Other medical professionals incorporate herbal remedies into their modern practice and recommend them as they see fit, in cooperation with newly discovered remedies of today.
Natural Health Care Outlook
Herbalist careers are on the rise and job growth over the next decade is promising. According to Study.com, there is a projected growth of 11% in the less specific field of Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners – the category which Herbalists falls under – over the next ten years.
In fact, there appears to be the growth in all areas of health care during that time. Physicians and surgeons, including Naturopathic Physicians, will increase by 7%, and Acupuncturists will rise by 11%. All three of these fields have projected median salaries of over $73,000 per year with Naturopathic Physicians earning a median of over $208,000 per year.
Clearly, there is a great demand for health care these days, and as demand for natural health care grows, being trained to become an herbalist can be a great boon to your life and career.
Benefits of Herbalism Training
Either way, there are many medical professionals who can benefit from herbalism training and certification. You may wish to become an herbalist and stop there. There is so much that an herbalist can do for personal and family care and many families consult herbalists for lifestyle recommendations and health support.
Others in the medical field may also benefit from herbalist training. Naturopathic doctors have a much longer and more in-depth training period than herbalists, but because they so often use herbalism in their field, they may receive herbalist training as part of their doctoral studies.
Doctors and other medical professionals who are studying conventional, Western medicine may benefit from herbalism training as well. Knowing about traditional herbal medicine can enhance a doctor’s or nurse’s qualifications, or can help make someone in pharmacy or pharmacy tech training a stronger employee down the line.
There are a number of different paths to becoming trained as an herbalist. There are correspondence courses, online courses, apprenticeships, and even a few degree and certificate programs offered by accredited institutions.
People seeking to become a trained herbalist can acquire general training or focus on one of several concentrations in this field such as growing herbs, finding medicinal herbs in the wild, manufacturing herbal products, or patient care.
Each of these concentrations will result in a different career, so choose to focus on what is best for you and what most closely matches your specific interests. Once you enter a training program, you will learn a wide variety of things.
People who are training to become herbalists learn about botany and plant identification and the history and philosophy of this ancient and modern field. They will also learn a lot about the human body including anatomy, physiology, pathology, and biochemistry.
Because human health can be directly linked to exercise and nutrition, people learning to be herbalists will also learn a great deal about these important aspects of life. If they are planning on going into patient care after they have completed their program, they will also likely learn about the issues faced by professional practitioners, assessment, follow-up, and recordkeeping, as well.
Programs that teach herbology are not always well-regulated, and because of this, some programs are weak or lack the thoroughness necessary to master this field. On average, a person pursuing herbalism as a career participates in a program that includes 1,600 hours of study including a 400-hour clinical requirement.
Many programs out there are much shorter; keep in mind, when it comes to quality education, there are no shortcuts.
Once you complete herbalism training, you will be a certified herbalist. However, although twenty states and the District of Columbia currently require licensing for naturopathic doctors, there are no specific federal or state-level regulations that apply to herbalists.
If you end up working with a chiropractor or other health practitioner, you may need to meet licensing requirements for that particular field, though. However, the fact that there are no licensing requirements for herbalists is a good reason for you to take your career seriously.
If you truly believe in herbalism and its benefits, you will want to learn as much as you can about it and project absolute professionalism wherever you go to encourage others to believe in you and in herbalism in general.
A career as an herbalist can be very rewarding and is much more than a job. People who have chosen an herbalist career care about their patients set examples for others and often incorporate their career into every aspect of their lives.
Herbalists can work in many different corners of the natural health industry. Many choose to pursue direct patient care. They are not doctors – not even naturopathic doctors – but they can offer many insights into the ways that herbs can be used to improve and support health.
Their advice and care can be invaluable for individuals, families, children, and pets. If patient care does not appeal to you, there are many other options as well. Some herbalists choose to work in conjunction and cooperation with other medical professionals.
Others work in the herb industry as herb buyers, researchers, growers, writers, or educators. There are many career paths available to herbalists; it really comes down to what corner of this field appeals to you.
If it sounds like an herbalist career is a right path for you, dive in and learn as much as you can about the programs offered. Be very selective and choosy when picking a program as some programs are much better than others.
Herbalism will change your life and will give you the opportunity to help so many others, too. Good luck and happy healing!
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