How to Become a Holistic Health Practitioner?

Overview

Holistic health practitioners can work as a massage therapist, dentist, homeopathic doctor, nutritionist, nurse, herbalist, mentor, educator and/or coach. They may also specialize in certain areas (elderly, pediatric, adults, pet care, etc.). A holistic health practitioner treats a variety of health conditions and illnesses with nutrition, exercise, dietary supplements, herbs, stress reduction techniques and lifestyle changes.

It is important to note that some conditions and illnesses require a medical services that a holistic health practitioner, that does not have a traditional medical degree, cannot provide, in this case a holistic practitioner is responsible for referring the client to a medical doctor or specialist. If you are looking for information on how to become a holistic practitioner, you have come to the right place. This article can tell you everything you need to know in order to become a holistic health practitioner.

Job Duties

As a holistic health practitioner, your main treatment protocol will focus on the connection between the patient’s mind, body and spirit. Your philosophy will be that the body can naturally heal itself using alternative (holistic) treatment methods. If you are a holistic massage therapist, you will use soft tissue massage techniques to ease your patient’s pain and reduce his/her stress. Holistic chiropractors treat patients by adjusting their spinal columns and/or applying heat and pressure to joints to relive headaches, reduce fatigue and alleviate back pain.

Naturopathic doctors, also known as homeopathic doctors, treat patients using a combination of exercise therapy, lifestyle changes, homeopathy, massage therapy, acupuncture, herbal medicine and nutrition. Holistic nurses teach their patients how to make better health and lifestyle choices so that they can improve their conditions and function at an optimal level.

As a holistic professional, you will record patient medical histories, assess patient well-being and suggest treatment options. You will more than likely collaborate with other medical professionals in regards to treatment plans. If necessary, you will make referrals and recommendations so that you patients receive the best care possible. It is important to note that this occupation is very physical so you may have an increased risk of injury due to standing for prolonged amounts of time and repetitively moving your arms and hands while providing care for your patients.

Educational Requirements

Your first step to becoming a holistic health practitioner is to obtain a bachelor’s degree. Education requirements associated with holistic health care vary depending on the specialization. For instance, to become a massage therapist, you need to complete approximately 500 hours of coursework and a clinical internship. You may also be required to seek licensure before practicing, depending on your state’s requirements.  If you decide to become a holistic nurse, you will need to become a registered nurse (RN) first. In addition, you will need to successfully complete a four-year degree program in nursing, pass the licensing exam, fulfill approximately 48 hours of holistic health coursework, complete a holistic nursing internship and obtain certification exam.

If you decide to take a different route and become a holistic chiropractor, you will need to earn a chiropractic doctoral degree, study holistic medicine and obtain a license. In the same manner, if you decide that naturopathy is the best option, you will be required to complete a doctoral program in naturopathy (from a naturopathic medical college) and pass the licensure exam.

Salary Prospects

The salary range for holistic health practitioners varies, depending on location, education and experience. If you work in a suburban or metropolitan area, you will more than likely earn more per year then someone who works in an urban or rural area. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2013), you can earn approximately $51,000 per year, as a holistic health practitioner.

In addition, if you are holistic health practitioner with a doctorate in osteopathic medicine and holistic treatment methods, you can expect to earn approximately $186,000 per year. According to the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (2013), the average licensed holistic health practitioner earns approximately $85,000 per year.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2013), you can expect to earn about $40,000 per year as a massage therapist. Moreover, you can expect to earn around $65,000 per year as a chiropractor or registered nurse. If you fall in the lower 10% you can expect to make $30,000 per year, while if you fall in the upper 10% you can expect to make approximately $180,000 or more (bls.gov).

Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2013), the career outlook for holistic health practitioners is good. Job employment is expected to increase 20% for massage therapists, 30% for chiropractors, 28% for nurses and 25% for physicians by 2020. This increase is due to the continual use of alternative treatments (acupuncture, vitamins, supplements, nutrition, exercise and Chinese herbs) to treat a variety of ailments and health conditions.

References  & Further Readings

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