Holistic medicine offers non-chemical, natural alternatives to conventional medical treatment for illness or injury. A holistic practitioner may have a degree in holistic medicine, or combine it with other medical-related degrees, to provide patients with traditional and natural options for healing. Distance-learning options make it easier for students to acquire education and training in complementary alternative medicine, aromatherapy, holistic nutrition, herbology, Chinese medicine and related fields.
According to CollegeDegree.com, there are more than 500 kinds of alternative medicine. Students learning about holistic medicine will learn the “whole person,” or holistic approach, the website says, along with the research and science behind alternative treatments. They will also learn about the medical treatments and techniques used by traditional medical providers.
Distance learning programs are especially beneficial for people who cannot find a physical school in their immediate area. A certificate or degree program may be obtained in the comfort of your own home, saving you the cost of transportation and room and board, and allowing you to work full or part time while completing your studies. Class schedules can be very flexible, but depending on the program, you may also need hands-on experience to learn treatments such as massage or acupuncture.
Students who lack access to a computer or high-speed Internet can use correspondence schools, which provide a curriculum on CD or via textbooks and workbooks. Work is usually returned by mail to the school for grading. Online schools teach directly via the Internet, and students send their completed lessons via email.
According to MyDistanceLearningWeb.com, grants, scholarships and federal student loans are available to students in distance-learning programs. For licensing purposes, and to qualify for some financial aid programs, look for an accredited school—the website recommends checking with the Council for Higher Education Accreditation before enrolling in any distance-learning program. Because programs vary so widely, tuition costs can range from $100 per credit hour for a 24-hour certificate program to $50,000 or more for a master’s degree from a private university.
Some courses of study, such as certificate programs consisting mainly of introductory classes, allow much flexibility for those who are part-time students, working full time, and/or caring for a family. Such programs can be completed in a minimal amount of time—usually less than a year.
Online colleges may offer bachelor’s or master’s degrees in holistic medicine, or even a doctoral program, with a time frame comparable to attending classes on campus. Some courses of study combine both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in complementary and alternative medicine, making it possible to complete a dual-degree program in less than five years.
To get a Master of Science degree, you will typically need to have a bachelor’s degree, but not necessarily in a field related to holistic or complimentary medicine. The usual prerequisite courses are basic biology, chemistry, physics and math. Master’s degree students also need to fulfill a clinical internship or become an assistant, which will require hands-on experience in a clinic with a professional practitioner in holistic medicine. A doctorate is not necessary in order to practice in most states, and typically takes six to eight years to complete.