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Herbalist Job Description, Career as a Herbalist, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Training/Educational Requirements: General knowledge; no formal training required

Median Salary: $55 per hour

Job Prospects: Good

Job Description

Herbalists work with a wide variety of plants to determine appropriate treatments for patients. In this profession, alternative methods of healing and natural forms of medication are used. Herbalists keep up with the healing properties of plants and herbs to treat their patients, offering a natural alternative to modern medicine.

Many herbalists either treat patients through a private practice, or as part of a holistic medicine clinic. Typically they see patients to understand their ailments or health conditions, and determine the best treatment plans based on the patients’ needs. Herbalists work in the same manner as traditional physicians, beginning with patient consultations, working through the diagnosis, and providing an appropriate treatment plan.

It is important for an herbalist to keep up with current trends and medical findings. More importantly, herbalists must keep up with newer practices of medicine including new plants and herbs available as healing properties. Herbalists work in a teaching role as well, especially since this is a new, up and coming type of medicine.

Holistic medicine clinics often hire herbalists to work on staff, where they are part of a team. With this type of medicine, healthier and natural alternatives are used to heal patients. Therefore, herbalists sometimes work in conjunction with aromatherapists or acupuncture specialists. Herbalists keep up with other holistic approaches, in addition to keeping track of the plants that heal their own patients. Therefore, herbalists spend a great deal of time educating themselves, and dealing with appropriate methods of patient care so they can serve those who come to them for natural healing.

Training/Educational Requirements

Since this is a newer form of medicine, there are no set educational requirements. Herbalists often have a medical background, but this is not a prerequisite. The most important educational requirement for an herbalist is to keep up with current trends and healing properties of plants and herbs. Since this is a newer aspect of alternative and holistic medicine, there are always new findings and research to help with patient care.

There is a movement in motion that requires herbalists to become certified as a minimal training requirement. There is a certification program available that provides credibility for herbalists, but is not required at this time. Those who wish to gain certification can do so, especially if they are looking to enhance their patient care skills.

How to Get Hired

As with any other type of medicine, experience is the best way to get hired. Patients want to know the physician they see offers a great deal of knowledge and experience so that they can offer them the best possible care. If working as an herbalist in a private practice, the best way to get hired by potential clients is to have effective marketing techniques. Again experience is the determining factor in getting hired.

If an herbalist is trying to get hired as a part of a holistic medicine clinic, knowledge of plants and herbs as well as experience in patient care is an excellent way to get hired. Additionally, knowledge in other holistic medicine practices such as acupuncture is a great way to get hired since they often work hand-in-hand. This is a relatively new form of medicine and therefore any medical training or experience, even in another field, proves to be an effective way of getting hired.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook, and Career Development

Since this is a newer type of medicine, there is great potential in terms of growth. Herbalists are just coming into their own as a profession, therefore, there are plenty of opportunities in this field. As more people gravitate to a more natural way of living and seek alternatives to modern medicine, herbalists continue to gain patients who can benefit from their services.

The biggest obstacle for herbalists is to prove they have the knowledge and experience that patients seek. Patients interested in this type of holistic medicine are usually open minded, but they want to know the herbs being prescribed to them are coming from a reputable source. Although the potential for jobs is high for herbalists, it is essential for them to demonstrate knowledge and capability within this area of holistic medicine. The greatest opportunities for jobs in this field are working in a private practice or as part of a holistic medicine clinic. Teaching is another area where herbalists can expect to find potential job opportunities.

Working Environment

The typical working environment for herbalists is that of a typical physician’s office. They can expect to have a small office within a clinic or larger practice, spending time moving between their office and the patient rooms. Patient consultations take place in the office or in an exam room. The office typically consists of a waiting room, a check out desk, and individual exam rooms.

An herbalist spends time doing research or learning about new treatments in a classroom or office. If they have teaching responsibilities as a part of their job, they can expect to maintain a typical classroom as part of their regular working environment. Depending on how involved they get with the research on various plants and remedies, they may spend time in a laboratory learning from scientists within the field. The work environment can change from time to time depending on the herbalist’s role.

Salary and Benefits

Since this role is still being defined, there isn’t a standard salary range for herbalists. The closest estimate is somewhere around $55 per hour. Their salary depends on their work environment. For instance, herbalists working in a holistic medicine clinic can expect to receive an average salary anywhere from $20,000-$120,000 per year, depending on the size of the practice, the number of hours worked, the number of patients seen, and the geographical location. Herbalists working in this environment receive standard benefits such as paid vacation and medical coverage. However, many herbalists either work in this role on a part-time basis, or run their own practice. Therefore, the salary range varies widely to accommodate these different roles, and benefits are not offered.

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