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How to Become A Herbalist

How to Become A Herbalist

In recent years, interest in alternative medicine to supplement conventional medicine has rapidly increased as people look for new ways to treat their ailments. One alternative treatment that has proven particularly popular is herbalism.

Thanks to this increased demand, many more people are now looking into a career as a herbalist. And, if you’re interested in becoming a herbalist, read on to find out everything you need to know about a career in herbalism.

What is a herbalist?

Herbalists use herbal products (also known as botanicals) to treat the symptoms and root causes of a wide variety of diseases and health conditions. While not a replacement for conventional medicine, herbalism can provide numerous health benefits when used as a supplementary treatment.

Herbs have been used as therapeutic treatments for thousands of years in cultures across the globe. For example, traditional Chinese medicine and the Ayurvedic medicine system originating from the Indian subcontinent.

Modern herbalism draws from these traditions in combination with scientific research that shows how specific herbal remedies can be an effective complementary medicine.  For instance, research has shown that turmeric holds many potential health benefits when used as a medicinal herb.

Herbalists are therefore well-placed to provide personalized treatments based on an individual patient’s health needs. Based on clinical assessments, herbalists can recommend specific herbal treatments that can treat their symptoms and promote general physical and mental wellbeing.

What does a herbalist do?

Herbalism offers a variety of different career opportunities. As well as working as a medical practitioner such as a naturopathic doctor or chiropractor, herbalists can also branch out into various other career paths, including:

  • Manufacturing: Creating and supplying herbal products for other herbalists
  • Farming: Growing in-demand herbs and plants for use in herbalist and holistic medicine
  • Retail: Selling herbal products to the public
  • Academia: Researching traditional herbal medicine as an ethnobotanist to preserve folk medicine systems from around the world
  • Research: Working as a biochemical researcher studying new applications for herbal medicine
  • Education: Teaching others about herbalism and providing herbalism counseling

Training to become a herbalist is therefore a great way of opening a variety of career paths and exciting opportunities.

Clinical herbalist responsibilities

While herbalism offers many career paths, the most common option is clinical herbalism whereby clinical herbalists work directly with patients to deliver herbal treatments to promote health and wellness.

Clinical herbalists may work in a number of different disciplines — naturopathic treatments, massage therapy, and holistic nutrition are just a few examples. Regardless of which field of herbal therapy you decide to work in, there are several major responsibilities shared by clinical herbal practitioners, including:

  • Initial consultations to diagnose conditions and illnesses.
  • Create a therapy plan including holistic, natural and herbal remedies.
  • Prescribe appropriate herbal products such as dietary herbal supplements, essential oils, or herbal medicines.
  • Carry out follow-up appointments to monitor patient progress.
  • Grow and prepare herbal formulations to supply to patients.
  • Advise on holistic health matters such as diet, lifestyle, and mental health.

How to become an herbalist?

Unlike conventional medicine, where medical doctors and other healthcare professionals must complete strictly regulated education and training, there isn’t a singular path to becoming a herbalist. This is partly due to the variety of career options that herbalism encompasses.

Some branches of herbalism do require the completion of specific education, training, or licensing courses - for example, naturopathic doctors must complete both a bachelor’s degree and a four-year Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine course.

For herbalism in general, however, there are no federal or state requirements in terms of training or licensing. However, it can be helpful to gain certification as a Registered Herbalist with the American Herbalists Guild. This requires 1600 or more hours of study, including at least 400 hours of clinical experience.

You may choose to undergo this training in person at herbalism schools, or through online courses which offer more flexibility if you can’t study full time.

What education does a herbalist need?

As stated above, there are no federal or state requirements in terms of the education a herbalist needs. However, there are a number of different subject areas that may be covered by herbalism courses or which may prove useful in gaining a position as a herbalist. These include:

  • Human sciences including anatomy, physiology and biochemistry.
  • Nutrition.
  • Botany and medicinal plant identification.
  • Professional practice and medical ethics.
  • Historical, philosophical and cultural studies of herbalism.
  • Pharmacology and clinical skills (eg. clinical assessments, recordkeeping, diagnostics).

A good herbal education will cover elements from all of these areas in order to provide a full understanding of how herbalism and botanical medicine work.

Even though there are few formal education requirements for becoming an herbalist, you should familiarise yourself with these areas of study through herbalism programs and courses if you want to pursue a herbalist career.

There are many routes to obtain the proper herbalism education - online herbal medicine courses, alternative medicine degrees, practical clinical training, and natural health educational programs can all provide useful training to help you become a master herbalist.

Where to find a herbalist job?

Once you’ve trained as a herbalist, your next step is to actually get a job as one. Many herbalists choose self-employment by starting their own herbalism business, while others seek positions at established practices.

Networking is key for the latter. That’s because herbalism jobs aren’t necessarily advertised through traditional job listings, so networking through conferences, professional organisations, and local herbalist businesses is often crucial to securing a position.

Herbalists salary and career path

Across the US, the median salary for a herbalist is just over $57,000, with the top 10% of earners taking home $82,000 or more. However, many factors can influence this - such as where you work, the specific herbal career you choose, and your level of experience.

Those with herbal certification can also expect a higher salary, since certified herbalists are likely to attract more patients. In terms of career growth, continuing education and training programs offer the best opportunities for herbalists to advance into more senior positions or grow their business.

For herbalists, herbal study shouldn’t stop once their certificate program has finished - the fields of herbalism and integrative health are continuously developing, and there are always new ways to improve their treatments and clinical practice.

Studying herbalism continuously therefore allows medical herbalists to provide even better results for their patients, boosting their reputation and helping to grow their business. Keeping on top of new research, studying online programs or courses, and attending industry conferences are a vital part of advancing your career as a herbalist.

Why Courses for Success?

Courses for Success offers over 10,000 online courses, all of which aim to help you in your personal development and career progression. Not only that, but you can also study them anywhere and at any time, and take them at your own pace, too.

You don’t need career diplomas or specific experience to get started. With every course we offer created to be as accessible as possible, you can be sure that all of them, from our coding courses and trading courses to design courses and developer courses, will help to boost your prospects, no matter who you are.

Beyond just the education itself, students will be issued with a certificate online after successful completion of each of the learning courses they do. Our herbalist courses are no exception. Our Master Herbalist Online Certificate Course certificates are recognized by industry leaders. You could really make a name for yourself by signing up for a Courses for Success short course today.

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