Becoming a Complementary Health Practitioner

Complementary Health Practitioners provide various types of therapies and treatments that are required in conjunction with the conventional treatment program prescribed by medical doctors. They may offer acupuncture, aromatherapy, chiropractic, massage, osteopathy, physiotherapy, or other alternative medicine treatments. They also tend to be strongly prevention-oriented and place a high value on the body’s natural ability to heal itself. These professions often incorporate low-tech, hands-on techniques, many of which can be traced to long-established traditions.

Complementary Health Practitioners work at verities of environments such as hospitals, clinics, mental institutes, rehabilitation facilities, NGOs, or other health related centers such as gym etc. They may practice in private or can align with other professionals from the field of health care.

Educational Requirements

The educational requirements to become Complementary Health Practitioners differ according the area of specialization. For instance, Chiropractors need to obtain a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) degree, while Acupuncture Technicians have to complete a Master’s-level programs in acupuncture. On the other hand, Massage Therapists need to earn a two-year associate’s degrees in massage therapy or complete a training program on therapeutic massage techniques typically ranging from 500 to 800 hours after completing a high school diploma or GED.

The common syllabus includes anatomy, biochemistry, pathology, microbiology, physiology, kinesiology, pathology, ethics etc.

Certification and Licensure

Complementary health practitioners need to earn typical state license in their chosen alternative medicine field. In case of certification, the Massage Therapists can obtain exam-based certification from the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, while the Acupuncture Technicians can receive certification from the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA).

Skill Set

Complementary Health Practitioner possess various traits such as ability to read X-rays and diagnostic images, creative thinking, crisis management abilities, empathy towards clients, proficient in counseling, motivating skills, effective communications and interpersonal skills, computer skills, knowledge in stress management etc.

Job Outlook and Salary

The job outlook for a Complementary Health Practitioner remains excellent across the USA. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the growth rate for job opportunities for Massage Therapists may rise 23 % and that of 28% for Chiropractors during 2012-2022.The average annual salary of a Chiropractor was of $66,160, while Massage Therapists earned $35,970 in 2012.

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