Education

Best Alternative Medicine Degree Programs of 2022

Learn more about the top Alternative Medicine programs, what to expect, job prospects, and how to choose the program that’s right for you.

Alternative medicine is any medical treatment that is not considered part of conventional medicine. Alternative medicine includes a wide range of practices, such as acupuncture, homeopathy, and naturopathy.

Alternative medicine is a growing field, as more and more people are seeking alternatives to conventional medicine. Alternative medicine practitioners are in demand in a wide variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, and private practice.

Alternative medicine degrees can prepare students for a variety of careers in alternative medicine, including acupuncture, homeopathy, and naturopathy. Students in alternative medicine degree programs learn about the different theories and techniques of alternative medicine, and how to apply those techniques to treat patients.

How to Choose the Right Alternative Medicine Program

When it comes to choosing the right alternative medicine degree program, there are many things to consider. The first step is to research the different types of programs available. There are many different specializations within the field of alternative medicine, so it is important to choose a program that offers the courses and training that you are interested in.

The next step is to consider the cost of the program. Many alternative medicine programs are offered at a variety of different price points. It is important to consider the cost of tuition, fees, and other associated expenses when making your decision.

Location is another important factor to consider. Some programs are offered online, while others are offered in brick-and-mortar locations. Consider your personal preferences and needs when making your decision.

Finally, consider the time commitment required for the program. Some programs can be completed in as little as two years, while others may take four years or more. Make sure you are realistic about the amount of time you are able to commit to your studies before making your final decision.

Best Bachelor’s in Alternative Medicine Programs

The best programs for Alternative Medicine ranking is based on key statistics and student reviews using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Some of the metrics influencing how the rankings are determined include graduation rate, average salary for graduates, accreditation, retention rate, and cost.

Rank 1
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ

The Bachelor of Science in Integrative Health degree from Arizona State University provides students with a background in holistic strategies for health care. The program focuses on scientific courses as well as complementary approaches to wellness, such as mental fitness, social connection, and spiritual well-being. Students in the program can choose between two tracks: the Pre-Health Professional Grad School track or the Nursing and General Health Interest track. The Pre-Health Professional Grad School track includes the core required courses for most graduate programs and is meant for students interested in earning an advanced degree in medicine. The Nursing and General Health Interest track includes the prerequisites for ASU’s nursing program and is meant for students looking to pursue a path in nursing.

Rank 2
Ohio University
Lancaster, OH

The Bachelor of Science in Integrated Healthcare Studies (BSIHS) from Ohio University is a completion degree designed for students seeking to become versatile leaders in the rapidly changing healthcare environment. The BSIHS program is accredited by the Ohio Board of Regents, and its unique curriculum caters to those seeking to expand their healthcare knowledge for graduate study in a health-related field and those seeking a bachelor’s degree in order to advance their healthcare careers. The program offers multiple options for course study structure, making it possible to complete the degree in a timely fashion.

Rank 3
Lesley University
Cambridge, MA

The Bachelor of Arts in Holistic Psychology and Wellness from Lesley University is a unique program that helps students connect psychology with mind, body, and spirit. The goal of the program is to prepare students to help others find relief from depression and trauma. The program studies alternative healing practices from around the world and provides students with the opportunity to intern in places like the Franciscan Hospital for Children, Artists for Humanity, the Cambridge Public Schools, Massachusetts General Hospital, and more.

Rank 4
Oakland University
Rochester Hills, MI

The Bachelor of Science in Holistic Health from Oakland University is a 120-credit program that prepares students for many traditional and non-traditional health and service-oriented professions and graduate programs. The program focuses on lifestyle changes and self-care to promote wellness through diet, exercise, mental health and spiritual awareness.

Rank 5
Northern Vermont University
Johnson, VT

The Bachelor of Science in Holistic Health from Northern Vermont University is a great choice for students interested in exploring alternative health practices and therapies. The fully online program is based on scientific standards set by the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health and Bastyr University’s School of Naturopathic Medicine program. Students will explore the social, cultural, political, and psychological aspects of different health care systems in the U.S. and around the world.

Rank 6
Parker University
Dallas, TX

The Bachelor of Science in Integrative Health from Parker University is an interdisciplinary program that takes a holistic approach to health promotion and disease prevention. The courses in the program provide students with a strong understanding of the human body and the fundamentals of health and disease. The program consists of various scientific disciplines including biology, chemistry, nutrition, anatomy and physiology, prevention and wellness, and herbology.

Rank 7
Southern California University of Health Sciences
Whittier, CA

The Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences from Southern California University of Health Sciences is a transfer-friendly, flexible online program that provides students a pathway to pursue various healthcare careers such as health education, public health, chiropractic, acupuncture, physician assistant, human genomics, physical therapy, occupational therapy, dentistry, or epidemiology. The curriculum provides four concentrations and three accelerated pathways to choose from, and students can study full-time or part-time.

What to Expect From a Bachelor’s in Alternative Medicine Program

Students in a bachelor’s degree program in alternative medicine learn about a variety of topics related to the field, including herbalism, acupuncture, and homeopathy. The coursework emphasizes both the scientific and the holistic approach to medicine. In addition to taking classes, students in this program also complete an internship in order to gain experience in the field.

The bachelor’s degree in alternative medicine is a four-year program that requires the completion of 120 credit hours. The coursework for this degree includes classes in anatomy, physiology, and chemistry, as well as classes specific to alternative medicine. In addition to the coursework, students in this program are also required to complete an internship.

The skills that students learn in this program prepare them for a career in alternative medicine. Students learn how to diagnose and treat patients using alternative methods. They also learn how to educate patients about alternative medicine and how to promote wellness.

Common Alternative Medicine Courses

The courses you’ll take for an alternative medicine degree will depend on the focus of your program. However, there are some common classes that are often included in these types of programs.

Intro to Alternative Medicine

This course covers the history, philosophy, and principles of alternative medicine. Topics include an overview of the major systems of alternative medicine, an evaluation of the scientific evidence supporting alternative medicine, and an examination of the ethical and social issues associated with alternative medicine. Upon completion, students should be able to explain the major systems of alternative medicine, evaluate the scientific evidence supporting alternative medicine, and examine the ethical and social issues associated with alternative medicine.

Acupuncture

This course covers the history, theory, and practice of acupuncture, with an emphasis on its use in the treatment of pain and other conditions. Topics include an overview of traditional Chinese medicine, the meridian system, acupuncture points, needling techniques, and the use of acupuncture in the treatment of specific conditions. Upon completion, students should be able to properly locate and needle acupuncture points, and to develop treatment plans incorporating acupuncture for specific conditions.

Herbal Medicine

This course covers the therapeutic use of herbs and other plant-based remedies. Emphasis is placed on the identification, cultivation, harvesting, drying, storage, and preparation of herbs for use in teas, tinctures, ointments, and other preparations. Topics include the history and philosophy of herbal medicine, safety and toxicity of herbs, and the role of herbs in the prevention and treatment of common ailments. Upon completion, students should be able to identify common herbs and their uses, prepare herbs for use, and explain the safety and efficacy of herbal remedies.

Meditation

This course covers the history, philosophy, and science of meditation, as well as its applications for physical and mental health. Topics include the history of meditation, different meditation traditions and practices, the physiology of meditation, and the psychological effects of meditation. Upon completion, students should be able to understand the different types of meditation, the benefits of meditation, and how to meditate effectively.

Nutritional Healing

This course covers the relationship between diet and health, with an emphasis on the role of nutrition in preventing and treating disease. Topics include the basic principles of nutrition, the function of nutrients in the body, the role of diet in health and disease, and the impact of diet on chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Upon completion, students should be able to apply the principles of nutrition to create a healthy diet for themselves and others, and to understand the role of nutrition in the prevention and treatment of disease.

Career Options for Alternative Medicine Graduates

Graduates of alternative medicine programs work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, and private practices. They may also work in fields such as research, education, and public health.

Herbalist

Herbalists use plants to make teas, tinctures, ointments, and other forms of natural medicine. They also develop relationships with their patients, getting to know them and their health histories in order to provide the best possible care. Herbalists typically work in private practice, but some may also work in community health centers, hospitals, or other healthcare settings. Some herbalists specialize in a particular area of care, such as pediatrics or mental health, while others focus on a specific population, such as pregnant women or the elderly.

Acupuncturist

Acupuncturists are alternative medicine practitioners who use needles and other techniques to stimulate pressure points on the body. They believe this will promote natural healing and pain relief. Acupuncturists typically work in private practices, but may also work in hospitals, clinics, or other healthcare settings. In addition to providing treatments, acupuncturists often consult with patients about their medical history and symptoms, develop individualized treatment plans, and provide education about the benefits of acupuncture and other healthy lifestyle choices.

Chiropractor

Chiropractors diagnose and treat patients with health problems related to the musculoskeletal system, which includes the bones, muscles, and joints. They use a variety of treatments, including manual therapy, manipulation, and adjustment of the spine and other joints. Chiropractors also use physiotherapy techniques, such as heat, cold, and electrical stimulation, and they may recommend lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise.

Massage Therapist

Massage therapists are responsible for providing their clients with therapeutic massage treatments. They must have a strong understanding of the human body and be able to use that knowledge to provide their clients with relief from pain, stress, and other conditions. Massage therapists typically work in private practices, but they may also work in hospitals, clinics, or other healthcare settings.

Homeopathic Practitioner

Homeopathic practitioners use a holistic approach to medicine that focuses on the whole person—body, mind, and spirit—rather than just the symptoms of a disease. Homeopathic practitioners take a detailed medical history and look at all aspects of a person’s life to determine the best course of treatment. Homeopathic remedies are based on the principle of “like cures like”—that is, a substance that causes certain symptoms in a healthy person can be used to treat those same symptoms in a sick person. Homeopathic practitioners may work in private practice, at clinics, or in hospitals.

Insights From an Alternative Medicine Graduate

Kathy Moreno is a certified yoga instructor and the owner of a yoga studio. She has a bachelor’s degree in alternative medicine from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine. Kathy has over 20 years of experience in the alternative medicine field.

ClimbtheLadder: What were the biggest takeaway(s) you got from your Alternative Medicine program that you may not have gotten otherwise?

Kathy Moreno: I think the biggest takeaway from my alternative medicine program is that there is always more to learn. I am constantly reading new research and taking new courses to learn about the latest developments in the field. I also think that my program gave me a great foundation on which to build my career.

ClimbtheLadder: What type of person is successful and thrives in an Alternative Medicine career?

Kathy Moreno: In an alternative medicine career, a person who is passionate about helping others and who has a strong interest in natural health and healing will thrive. You should also be able to work independently and be self-motivated.

ClimbtheLadder: What misconception(s) do people have about an Alternative Medicine degree, and what would you tell them?

Kathy Moreno: I think the biggest misconception is that alternative medicine is not a real thing. I mean, it’s not like you’re going to find an alternative medicine degree at a traditional university. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a real field.

Alternative medicine is a very real and valid field of study. It’s not just a bunch of hocus pocus. There is actual science behind it. If you’re interested in alternative medicine, I would encourage you to do your research and find a reputable school to study at.

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