Career as Herbalist
Herbology is the study of plants, their health benefits and their medicinal qualities. Herbalists use natural resources to treat illness, alleviate medical conditions and provide therapeutic remedies. Aspiring herbalists often apprentice with a master herbalist before entering the job market. Individuals study traditional herbal wisdom and contemporary scientific knowledge to prepare for careers in herbology.
Careers in Herbology
Career opportunities in the field of herbology vary based on candidate training and clinical experience. An individual who has completed a certificate program or a 2 year degree program in herbology is qualified to work as an herbalist. Herbalists may specialize in indigenous, Ayurvedic, Chinese or Western herbology. Job duties may include treating patients, managing a holistic health clinic, selling herbal products, wellness consulting and herb cultivating.
Master herbalists have completed advanced training and may have a degree in herbal medicine, holistic medicine, naturopathy or herbal sciences. Increased education and experience prepares master herbalists for leadership roles as researchers, consultants, administrators and educators.
Employment Options for Herbalists
Herbalists frequently pursue entrepreneurial endeavors, such as opening an herbal wholesale business or holistic clinic. Self – employed herbalists develop their careers by building and expanding a client base from within their local holistic health community. Others may seek employment as vitamin – supplement representatives, herbal consultants, herbal industry representatives or homeopathic clinic managers.
Advanced herbology training increases employment opportunities. Individuals may consider taking courses in physiology and holistic health, herb cultivation, herbal science, botanical medicine, herbal manufacturing, aromatherapy, basic botany, herbal nutrition and integrative herbal therapeutics. Apprenticing is another way individuals find employment in the field of herbology. Master herbalists instruct apprentices in developing health plans and supplying traditional herbal remedies to treat patients.
Job Outlook for Herbalists
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( BLS ) reports that the demand for herbology specialists is likely to increase as more people seek alternative healing methods. The job outlook in the field of herbology varies based on an herbalist’s level of experience, location and employment aspirations. While there isn’t an official certification process to work as an herbalist, job opportunities are better for those who have completed some form of herbology training, which may also increase an individual’s earnings potential.
Herbalists working at a health store may earn minimum wage, while self – employed herbalists may set their hourly wage as they see fit. Self-employed herbalists maintain job stability by expanding their client base and marketing adequately. Sales jobs and wages fluctuate based on market factors; however, the BLS reports that sales representatives ( wholesale and manufacturing, technical and scientific products) earned a median annual wage of $70,200 including commissions as of May 2008 ( www.bls.gov. )
Herbalist Employment Outlook and Salary Information
As the interest in alternative and natural medicine continues to increase, so will the need for acupuncturists with an added herbology credential. A post – graduate certificate in Chinese herbology allows licensed acupuncturists to treat their patients more effectively, and in turn, become more valuable to their clientele. According to the American Association of Oriental Medicine, acupuncturists usually charged between $40 and $70 per session in 2009.
Bachelor of Science in Herbal Sciences
A bachelor’s degree program in herbal science provides students with scientific knowledge and personal understanding of plants and their medicinal uses. Students learn from master herbalists and gain a holistic understanding of herbs in regards to human organization and function.
Herablist Education Prerequisites
Undergraduates typically begin an herbal sciences program after two years of general study. Schools may require at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA in basic science courses, such as general chemistry, biology and botany. Some schools require students to complete 90 credit hours in the basic sciences and general education categories before enrolling in the herbal science program at the beginning of their junior year.
Herbalist Program Coursework
The program includes coursework in the historical and social perspectives of botanical medicine, the use of herbal science in health maintenance and disease prevention, the current issues in manufacturing and quality assurance and the cultivation of herbs.
- Anatomy and physiology
- Organic chemistry
- Plant identification
- Herbal preparations
- History of herbal medicine
Possible Herbology Career Options
Graduates of degree programs in herbal sciences often find work in laboratories or for herbal products companies.
- Herbal products manager, manufacturer or representative
- Herb cultivator
- Herbal quality assurance specialist