Plants are studied for their medicinal qualities and their health benefits in a science called herbology by professionals called herbalists. Natural resources are used by herbalists in the treatment of illnesses, the alleviation of medical conditions and provision of therapeutic remedies. Before entering the job market, a prospective herbalist often apprentice with a master herbalist. A combination of contemporary science and traditional herbology are required to be studied by these aspiring professionals.
Herbalists have several career opportunities that depend on the extent and nature of training and experience they have. An aspiring herbalist should hold a two-year degree in herbology or a certificate in order to be able to enter the profession. Their professional specialization can be in Western, Chinese or Ayurvedic herbology. Responsibilities can include herb cultivating, wellness consulting, selling herbal products, managing a holistic health clinic and treating patients. Master herbalists prepare themselves with advanced training and a possible degree in herbal sciences, naturopathy, holistic medicine or herbal medicine. Armed with such training, they can assume leadership roles in such fields as education, administration, consultation and research.
Herbology Employment Options
Often, herbalists prefer to become entrepreneurs by opening their own holistic clinic or herbal wholesale business. They seek to build and expand their customer base by wooing members of the local community who subscribe to holistic health concepts. Some herbalists aspire to become managers of homeopathic clinics, representatives of the herbal industry, herbal consultants, or vitamin-supplement representatives. Their career options are improved with advanced herbology training where coursework will include integrative herbal therapeutics, herbal nutrition, basic botany, aromatherapy, herbal manufacturing, botanical medicine, herbal science, herb cultivation, and physiology and holistic health. They can also seek job opportunities via apprenticeship training under the supervision of master herbalists from whom they learn to develop health plans and supply traditional herbal remedies to be used in the treatment of patients.
Herbology Job Outlook
An optimistic job growth has been projected for herbology specialists by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Such optimism is based on the increasing numbers of people that seek alternative modes of healing. A herbalist’s employability will vary depending on their aspirations, location, and experience. There is no official certification process in place for herbalists; however, these professionals can improve their career prospects and earning potential by undergoing some sort of herbology training.
Salary Information for Herbalists
Herbalists employed at a health store are among the lowest wage earners in the field; the highest salary is earned by independent herbalists who are allowed to set their hourly rate and who can ensure a stable income by working to expand their client base. Market factors influence the wages earned by herbalists in sales jobs. In May 2008, sales representatives (scientific, technical and wholesale and manufacturing products) took home an average annual salary of $70,200 including commissions (source: www.bls.gov).
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