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Career as a Herbalist: Job Description and Salary


Medical herbalism is a practice wherein the healing power of plants is used for the treatment of various medical conditions and this includes allergies, skin problems, conditions related to stress and arthritis. A herbalist works alongside doctors, in wellness centers, in alternative medicine facilities or as independent practitioners.

What does a Herbalist do?

  • Grows herbs
  • ‘Wildcrafts’ or picks herbs
  • Manufactures herbal products
  • Counsels people about usage of herbs as medicine
  • Supplements other professions like naturopathic medicine, chiropractic or nutrition careers.

Educational Requirements:

There is no need for a specific degree to become a herbalist, although possessing a science background is considered preferable. For instance, holding a degree in subjects such as nutrition, botany or biology can be instrumental in chalking out a bright career in this field. A general degree must include regular classes in subjects including anatomy, pathology, physiology, medical terminology, biochemistry and nutrition. In order to be certified as a herbalist, you need to pursue a herbal medicine degree as approved by the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (NIMH) or other European Herbal organizations and Traditional Medicine Practitioners’ Association (EHTPA). If you are interested in herbal therapy distance learning programs, it might cost you an amount ranging from $400 to $1,500, while a full-time study course ranges from $4,000 to $14,000 each year.

Training cum development:

Upon completion of a course recognized by NIMH, you have the eligibility to join the organization. Since you’re now a member, you can be part of their postgraduate training scheme that lasts for a three-year period during which you are mentored and prepared for further training courses and self-assessment. Members can also avail research opportunities and seminars offered by NIMH.

Employment Outlook:

The herbal medicine field is an upcoming field and it has plenty of career opportunities, if you’re planning to get a job in academia, research or clinical practice. The job is extremely crucial and important as you need to ensure that herbal medicines are used effectively and safely alongside other lifestyle choices and medical treatments. A herbal medicine school is just perfect in case your field of interest is in traditional remedies and holistic natural therapies.

Herbalist Career Options:

As per the American Herbalist’s Guild, herbalists get to work across multiple fields which involves professions such as native healers, naturopaths, scientists, research writers, holistic doctors and herbal pharmacists. There are also certain career options that deal with particular kind of herbal medicine like traditional Chinese medicine or acupuncture. Nevertheless, the kind of career you choose is typically determined by the consumer demand for certain specialized techniques.

Their other options are to be researchers and teachers or become representatives, manufacturers, managers or consultants in the herbal industry. ‘Wildcrafting’ or cultivating herbs is also a viable option, besides being employed as part of the health and wellness field or becoming a processing specialist in quality assurance.

Herbalist Salary :

As per PayScale.com, the average salary of a herbalist each year is $43,920 in November 2014. A wider salary range is offered by the American Herbalists Guild ranging from $20,000 to $120,000 on an annual basis.

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