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2021 Alternative Medicine & Systems Degree Guide

Although Western medicine has made dramatic advances and can treat and cure a variety of illnesses, some people prefer to use herbal remedies or more holistic treatments. A degree in Alternative Medicine and Systems will allow you to learn about many the natural and alternative treatments available.

Students with a degree in Alternative Medicine and Systems often work with organic ingredients to cure illnesses and work to find the cause of illnesses instead of treating just the symptoms. Students take classes in nutrition, medical ethics, herbalism, acupuncture, aromatherapy, yoga, and massage to learn how to treat patients without relying on manufactured drugs or dangerous chemicals.

Some areas of specialization in this field include general Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Chinese Herbology, Naturopathic Medicine, Homeopathic Medicine, Ayurvedic Medicine, Holistic Health, and Direct Entry Midwifery.

Alternative Medicine & Systems Degrees On The Rise

#160 Most Popular Major
3.6k Degrees Awarded
2.7% Increase in Graduates

In 2018-2019, alternative medicine and systems was the 160th most popular major nationwide with 3,576 degrees awarded. This represents a 2.7% increase in alternative medicine degrees awarded over the prior year's total of 3,481.

The United States has 13 different schools where you can get a degree in alternative medicine and systems. Explore this or one of our many other custom alternative medicine rankings further below.

Requirements for Getting a Degree in Alternative Medicine & Systems

Students in the Alternative Medicine and Systems major are committed to working with natural ingredients and using a variety of treatments to help patients. Since professionals are devoted to finding the cause of the illness, strong observation and analytical thinking skills allows professionals to listen to patients and figure out what is causing pain or sickness. Strong interpersonal and communication skills also help professionals work closely with others and make them feel comfortable under their care.

A degree in Alternative Medicine and Systems often leads to a fulltime job in the field. Professionals work at alternative medical clinics or specialized medical offices where they can meet with patients and perform treatments.

Some students choose to pursue an associate's degree in this field, as a bachelor's degree is not always necessary depending on your career goals. You can also continue your education in medical or nursing school to improve skills and find better job opportunities.

Alternative Medicine Degree Program Entry Requirements

New students will need to have completed high school or a GED program and each school will have their own minimum GPA and SAT/ACT test requirements. Specific alternative medicine careers may require a certain level of degree attainment or additional certifications beyond that.

Types of Alternative Medicine & Systems Degrees

There are many different alternative medicine degree levels. You can get anything from a associate's degree in alternative medicine and systems to the highest alternative medicine degree, a professional practice doctorate. The type of alternative medicine degree you choose will determine how long it takes to get your diploma.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A doctor's degree (research / scholarship) is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to alternative medicine, with approximately 24.6% of workers getting one. People currently working in careers related to alternative medicine tend obtained the following education levels.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate 26.4%
Doctoral Degree 25.8%
Master’s Degree 20.8%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 7.1%
Bachelor’s Degree 7.1%

Most workers in alternative medicine have at least a master's degree. View the chart below to get an idea of what degree level most of those in alternative medicine and systems careers have.


This of course varies depending on which alternative medicine career you choose.

Alternative Medicine Careers

Below Average Number of Jobs
$23.2k Average Starting Salary
13% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

Alternative Medicine and Systems graduates go on to find a variety of career options within this field. Graduates have become acupuncturists, homeopathic practitioners, massage therapists, midwifes, or specialists in various types of alternative medical systems that deal with treating patients using herbal remedies and traditional medicines. Graduates work in medical offices where they avoid the use of prescription drugs. With this occupation growing at an average rate, students should be able to find jobs after graduation.

Solid Growth Projected for Alternative Medicine Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your alternative medicine degree? Alternative Medicine & Systems careers are expected to grow 13.0% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to alternative medicine and systems.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners 63,900 13.3%
Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Workers 45,000 12.5%

How Much Money Do Alternative Medicine Grads Make?

Recently graduated alternative medicine and systems students earned an average of $23,207 in 2017-2018. Earnings can range from as low as $11,600 to as high as $34,800. As you might expect, salaries for alternative medicine graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


Highest Paid Alternative Medicine Careers

Salaries for alternative medicine and systems graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top 5 highest paying careers alternative medicine grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners $85,600
Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Workers $63,340

Getting Your Alternative Medicine & Systems Degree

With over 172 different alternative medicine degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased alternative medicine school rankings to help you with this.

One of 34 majors within the Health Professions area of study, Alternative Medicine & Systems has other similar majors worth exploring.

Majors Similar to Alternative Medicine

Related Major Annual Graduates
Nursing 305,309
Allied Health & Medical Assisting Services 99,641
Practical Nursing & Nursing Assistants 93,192
Allied Health Professions 86,697
Health & Medical Administrative Services 82,868

View All Alternative Medicine Related Majors >


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