Herbologist Career Outlook
A herbologist or herbal specialist studies how to use plants to improve their patient’s health. Herbology as a form of medicine has been around in eastern Asian countries for thousands of years and recently has been used in modernized countries as a form of alternative medicine for those who choose not to use traditional treatment methods.
Training to become an herbal specialist involves many years of training. One must learn all the properties of different types of plants, as well as the ailments they can treat, and the side effects they can cause. There are many different types of herbal training programs available in the United States, but it is important that before committing to a program you research the state requirements to become a herbologist, as they can vary widely.
Increasingly, people are seeking out alternative treatments as a more natural way to heal themselves. It is expected that there will be a reasonable increase in demand for herbologists, especially as the population ages and people increasingly recognize the benefits of natural healing. More and more young people are embracing lifestyles that avoid chemicals, including traditional medicine. As this generation ages and has children of their own, they will seek out the knowledge of natural therapists including herbal specialists.
A survey completed in 2002 by the National Center for Contemporary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) showed that approximately 36% of adults in the United States used complementary and alternative medicine. The same survey in 2007 resulted in a response of 38%. Additionally, 12% of children were also using complementary and alternative medicine. While the increase for adults over the five year period was minimal, it is expected that growth will continue for the foreseeable future.
Once you are a trained and accredited herbologist, you are free to open your own practice or start working with other types of alternative medicine practitioners. Studies show that the average salary for an established herbologist is $50,000 per year. With only a few years of education required, this career offers an above average salary without having to complete a bachelor or master’s degree.
If you wish to pursue a career as a herbologist, your next step would be to research job opportunities in your area. As this is a growing field of alternative medicine, you’ll want to start your practice somewhere without competition. This means that you may need to be willing to relocate to another city, where there is either a lot of herbal specialists, or enough demand to sustain another professional.
Herbology can be a very challenging career, and is certainly worth pursuing if you have an interest in natural healing, plants, or alternative medicine. Herbology careers can also be combined with other types of alternative medicine such as homeopathy or acupuncture. Combining alternative medicine skill sets can provide additional income and more job opportunities.