Alternative and Complementary Medicine and Medical Systems

Overview of Alternative and Complementary Medicine and Medical Systems Postsecondary Programs

Alternative and Complementary Medicine and Medical Systems college programs teach students about non-conventional therapies and medical treatments. Some of these therapies and treatment systems include meditation, acupuncture, dietary supplements, hypnotherapy, vitamins and light therapy. College and university programs also focus on botanical medicines, also referred to as herbs, guided imagery, color therapy and movement therapies. The programs are offered at traditional accredited colleges and universities as well as at smaller training institutions.

Working in Alternative and Complementary Medicine and Medical Systems

After you complete Alternative and Complementary Medicine and Medical Systems degrees you can work at medical clinics and treatment centers. You can also work for physicians who have their own private practices or you can start your own practice and treat clients. Expect to work a standard 40-hour work week. However, if you start your own private practice and you have an overflow of clients, you may work 50 or more hours a week during peak periods. Types of jobs you can fill include chiropractor, massage therapists, hypnotherapist, herbal and vitamin store owner and physical therapist. Depending on services you offer, you may work with needles, oils, music, scents and/or hot stones.

Curriculum for Alternative and Complementary Medicine and Medical Systems Postsecondary Programs

Depending on where you enroll at college, core courses you are required to take to graduate with Alternative and Complementary Medicine and Medical Systems degrees may vary. However, core courses you can expect to take include:

  • Fundamentals of Human Physiology
  • Introduction to Complementary and Alternative Medicine
  • Introduction to Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Mind-Body Skills
  • Mind-Body Medicine
  • Biochemistry
  • Introduction to Pharmacology
  • Clinical Nutrition
  • Bioethics of Clinical Practice
  • Research Techniques
Alternative and Complementary Medicine and Medical Systems Degrees

Types of undergraduate degrees and credentials available in Alternative and Complementary Medicine and Medical Systems include a Certificate in Integrative Therapy, Bachelor of Science in Wellness and Alternative Medicine and a Bachelor of Science in Natural Medicine. You can also get graduate degrees like the Master of Science in Natural Medicine or the Doctorate of Naturopathy. Some degree programs provide you with a diverse background, offering you the chance to incorporate a combination of conventional and non-conventional medical therapies, treatments and laboratory work into your client services.

Skills Gained From Alternative and Complementary Medicine and Medical Systems Programs

An ability to actively listen to clients, understand alternative approaches to human therapies and improve your critical thinking skills are benefits derived from enrolling in and completing Alternative and Complementary Medicine and Medical Systems programs at accredited colleges and universities. Other skills you can gain after you complete the programs are preventive care, holistic, diet and wellness and intervention and treatment skills.

Job Opportunities for Alternative and Complementary Medicine and Medical Systems Students

As a healthcare practitioner you can expect jobs in your occupation to grow by 22 percent from 2008 through 2018 according to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Hospitals employed the largest numbers of healthcare practitioners as of 2008. The median weekly salaries earned by healthcare practitioners working in non-supervisory roles for private industry employers were $608 as of May 2008.

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