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Career Paths

Occupational Outlook for Careers in Healthcare - Overall

Per the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of healthcare occupations is projected to grow 19 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations, adding about 2.3 million new jobs. Healthcare occupations will add more jobs than any other group of occupations. This growth is expected due to an aging population and because federal health insurance reform should increase the number of individuals who have access to health insurance.

Salary Outlook for Careers in Healthcare - Overall

The median annual wage for healthcare practitioners and technical occupations (such as registered nurses, physicians and surgeons, and dental hygienists) was $63,420 in May 2016, which was higher than the median annual wage for all occupations in the economy of $37,040.

Integrative Health Care Trends

Use of integrative medicine is widespread. The 2012 National Health Interview Survey, a nationwide government survey, found that 33 percent of U.S. adults reported using integrative medicine practices within the previous 12 months, with the highest rates among people aged 45–64 (36 percent).

Naturopathic Doctors

Emphasizing prevention and wellness, and engaging the wisdom of nature to promote the body’s inherent healing ability, naturopathic doctors (NDs) diagnose and treat disease and use traditional therapies combined with modern medical practices to help restore, maintain, and improve health. Naturopathic medicine can be used as a primary care approach, as a complement to conventional medicine and other forms of healthcare, for disease prevention, or for health and wellness support. Naturopathic doctors are experts in natural medicine, utilizing many modalities such as clinical nutrition, physical medicine, hydrotherapy, homeopathy, and botanical medicine, along with sensible concepts such as a healthy diet and lifestyle, regular exercise, and relaxation and stress management techniques.

Naturopathic doctors complete a four-year, accredited doctoral program and study the same biomedical sciences that medical doctors and doctors of osteopathy master, generally in the first two years of the program. The final two years emphasize clinical training under the supervision of a licensed naturopathic doctor. In addition, the naturopathic physician is required to complete extensive training in clinical nutrition, physical medicine, counseling, botanical medicine, homeopathy, and pharmacology. Naturopathic doctors also study minor surgery, intravenous therapy, and in some states are licensed as primary care providers.

Occupational Outlook

While the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not make projections specifically on naturopathic doctors, they do have data on the broader field of health diagnosing and treating practitioners. They estimate that available positions for health diagnosing and treating practitioners, such as naturopathic doctors, will increase by 12 percent between 2014 and 2024 which is higher than the national average. As of 2015, the BLS reported that these health practitioners in general earned a median annual salary of $74,710. O*NET Online offers a career-outlook report for naturopathic physicians based on the BLS statistics.

Additionally, a 2015 study conducted by the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges found that naturopathic medical professionals practicing full-time earn a mean salary of $89,392 annually in the U.S.

Career Opportunities

  • Private and group health practice
  • Primary care, hospital and specialty settings
  • Laboratory testing and development
  • Public health
  • Corporate wellness
  • Consultant with health policy, research institutes, and think tanks
  • Instructor in academic institutions
  • Healthcare consultant and writer

Licensure and Certification According to the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, “Currently 20 states, the District of Columbia, and the United States territories of Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands have licensing or registration laws for Naturopathic Doctors. In these states, Naturopathic Doctors are required to graduate from accredited four-year residential naturopathic medical programs and pass an extensive postdoctoral board examination (NPLEX) in order to receive a license or registration.”

Naturopathic doctors must fulfill state-mandated education requirements and have a scope of practice as defined by their state's law. Since these regulations differ from state to state, prospective students should research the regulations for the state(s) in which they intend to practice. The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians maintains a list of jurisdictions that currently regulate naturopathic doctors that includes links to state licensing organizations here.

Additional Resources

American Association of Naturopathic Physicians
818 18th St. NW, Suite 250
Washington, DC 20006
202-237-8150
Toll Free: 866-538-2267
www.naturopathic.org

Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges
818 18th Street NW, Suite 250
Washington, DC 20006
800-345-7454
www.aanmc.org

Federation of Naturopathic Medicine Regulatory Authorities (FNMRA)
9220 SW Barbur Blvd., Ste 119, #321
Portland, OR 97219
503-452-2953
info@fnmra.org
www.fnmra.org

The Council on Naturopathic Medical Education
P.O. Box 178
Great Barrington, MA 01230
413-528-8877
staff@cnme.org
www.cnme.org

Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examination Board
#321 9220 SW Barbur Boulevard, Suite 119
Portland, OR 97219-5434
503-250-9141
www.nabne.org

North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners
#321 9220 SW Barbur Boulevard, Suite 119
Portland, OR 97219-5434
503-778-7990
info@nabne.org
www.nabne.org

Acupuncturists and Oriental Medicine Practitioners

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine are elegant, 2500-year-old healing systems that are increasingly in demand by consumers, proven effective for the treatment of many health challenges, and are providing a number of viable career paths for those who are called to this fulfilling work.

Occupational Outlook

While the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not make projections specifically on acupuncturists, they do have data on the broader field of health diagnosing and treating practitioners. They estimate that available positions for health diagnosing and treating practitioners, such as acupuncturists, will increase by 12 percent between 2014 and 2024 which is higher than the national average. As of 2015, the BLS reported that these health practitioners in general earned a median annual salary of $74,710. O*NET Online offers a career-outlook report for acupuncturists based on the BLS statistics.

It is worth noting that in February 2017, The American College of Physicians publicly recommended that physicians and patients treat acute or subacute low back pain with non-drug therapies, and included acupuncture as an evidence-based treatment option. In May of that same year, the US Food and Drug Administration recommended in its Education Blueprint for Health Care Providers that doctors learn more about acupuncture as a therapy that might help patients avoid prescription opioids. These public endorsements from leaders in the conventional medical field suggest a potential increase in demand for services from licensed acupuncture practitioners.

Career Opportunities

  • Individual practices
  • Group practices
  • Shared practices with physicians, chiropractors, and mental health professionals
  • Affiliations with drug detoxification programs, detention centers, and veterinary practices
  • Healthcare provider in hospitals, health centers, HMOs, and clinics
  • Workshop and seminar presenters
  • Faculty in higher education

Acupuncture Licensure in the US

Currently, 44 states and the District of Columbia officially recognize acupuncturists as health care practitioners and have adopted specific regulations governing their licensure and registration. Since these regulations differ from state to state, prospective students should research the regulations for the state(s) in which they intend to practice. The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) maintains a chart online that includes links to state regulatory bodies here.

Additional information regarding licensure requirements is available in the academic catalog.

Additional Resources

Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM)

600 Wyndhurst Ave, Suite 112
Baltimore, MD 21210
410-464-6040
www.ccaom.org

Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM)
8941 Aztec Drive
Eden Prairie, MN 55347
952-212-2434
www.acaom.org

National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM)
76 S. Laura Street, Suite 1290
Jacksonville, FL 32202
904-598-1005
info@nccaom.org
www.nccaom.org

American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
9650 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20814
866-455-7999
www.aaaomonline.org

Nutritionists

Nutrition is one of the most influential determinants for long-term health and wellness. In fact, research shows that most chronic diseases can be prevented, and in some cases reversed, through optimal and individualized nutrition. Record numbers of consumers and businesses are aware of these facts and are seeking health professionals that can offer a strong knowledge base in the field of nutrition.

Occupational Outlook

Employment of dietitians and nutritionists is projected to grow 16 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. According to the BLS, “The role of food in preventing and treating illnesses, such as diabetes, is now well known. More dietitians and nutritionists will be needed to provide care for patients with various medical conditions and to advise people who want to improve their overall health.” The median annual wage for dietitians and nutritionists is $58,920.

Career Opportunities

  • Private nutrition practice
  • Clinical practice in a variety of settings, including fitness centers, medical centers, and other health-related organizations
  • Consultant to nutraceutical companies, apothecaries, supermarkets, and other nutrition-related companies
  • Community health and nutrition educator in the private or public sector
  • Corporate wellness programs
  • Faculty at community colleges, state colleges, and universities
  • Writer or publisher
  • Lecturer, speaker, or teacher
  • Public relations and consumer affairs for a variety of food companies

Licensure and Certification

Licensure

Licensing requirements for nutritionists vary by state. To learn the most up-to-date laws and regulations, please refer to each state’s board of dietetic practice, or go to www.nutritionadvocacy.org.

Certification

The Master of Science in Nutrition and Integrative Health program is tailored to meet the eligibility requirements of several national board certifications. At the present time MUIH is in compliance with the requirements of each of the professional organizations listed below. However, boards do change their eligibility requirements. Please contact the appropriate board with questions and review licensing laws by state for the most up to date information.

  • Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) through the Certification Board of Nutrition Specialists. Graduates from the Clinical Nutrition and Herbal Medicine areas of concentration in the Master of Science in Nutrition and Integrative Health meet the educational requirements to sit for the CNS exam. Graduates from the Community Nutrition Education area of concentration may meet the educational requirements to sit for the CNS exam if certain elective credits are taken. The Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists (BCNS) also requires that applicants complete 1000 hours of supervised practice experience and pass the BCNS Certifying exam. The board reviews each applicant individually to determine eligibility. Coursework in the Master of Science in Nutrition and Integrative Health program contains 350-425 supervised clinical practice hours depending on the electives a student chooses. MUIH offers the Nutrition Internship Program to complete the remaining supervised clinical practice hours.
  • Certified Clinical Nutritionist (CCN) through the Clinical Nutrition Certification Board. Graduates of the Master of Science in Nutrition and Integrative Health program are exempt from taking the post-graduate training offered through the Clinical Nutrition Certification Board before sitting for the exam. CNCB reviews each applicant individually. They review all transcripts to determine eligibility.
  • Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition® through the Holistic Nutrition Credentialing Board. Graduates of the Master of Science in Nutrition and Integrative Health program are eligible to sit for this certification exam. The requirements for this exam include at least one herbal elective course.

This program does not prepare students to sit for the Commission on Dietetics Registration dietetics exam.

Additional Resources

Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists
4707 Willow Springs Rd, Suite 207
La Grange, IL 60525
202-903-0267
www.nutritionspecialists.org

Clinical Nutrition Certification Board
15280 Addison Road, Suite 130
Addison, TX 75001
972-250-2829
www.cncb.org

National Commission for Health Education Credentialing
1541 Alta Drive, Suite 303
Whitehall, PA 18052
(484) 223-0770
www.nchec.org

Holistic Nutrition Credentialing Board
P.O. Box 1884
Rancho Cordova, CA 95741-1884
800-342-8037
www.nanp.org/hncb

Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior
9100 Purdue Road, Suite 200
Indianapolis, IN 46268
800-235-6690
www.sneb.org

Health and Wellness Coaches

At a time when the nation is struggling with obesity and chronic illness, health and wellness coaching is an evidenced-based approach to restoring and maintaining health. According to U.S. News & World Report, “Wellness coaches are being hired not only by individuals but by employers and health insurers as a likely cost-beneficial perk for their employees.”

Occupational Outlook

The BLS defines health educators as individuals who “teach people about behaviors that promote wellness. They develop and implement strategies to improve the health of individuals and communities.” The median annual wage for health educators was $53,070 in May 2016. Combined employment statistics of health educators and community health worker data suggests the fields are projected to grow 13 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. Growth will be driven by efforts to improve health outcomes and to reduce healthcare costs by teaching people healthy habits and behaviors and explaining how to use available healthcare services.

Career Opportunities

  • Health and wellness coach in private and group practices
  • Corporate health and wellness coach
  • Health and wellness coach at fitness centers, medical centers, and other health-related organizations
  • Faculty in higher education and educators in schools
  • Writer, publisher, or editor of print and electronic publications
  • Health researcher

Certification and Credentials

International Consortium for Health & Wellness Coaching (ICHWC)

The Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Health and Wellness Coaching is an approved transition program per the standards of the International Consortium for Health & Wellness Coaching (ICHWC). Students in the master’s program who have completed that coursework and have met ICHWC’s requirements will qualify to sit for the national exam, which launched in 2017.

International Coach Federation (ICF)

The coaching courses that make up this program are approved by the International Coach Federation (ICF). These courses provide Coach Specific Training Hours (ACSTH), a requirement to become an ICF-certified coach. On-campus and hybrid students who take specific courses on campus will complete an approved 60-hour program and be eligible to sit for the exam and become Associate Certified Coaches (ACC). Please refer to the ICF website for additional requirements for certification. On-campus students may complete up to 200 approved hours depending on course selection. Online students are not eligible for ICF certification.

ICF is the world’s largest nonprofit coaching association. Membership provides access to the most current coaching research, global networking opportunities, and accreditation and credentialing programs. ICF promotes professional coaching, raising its profile with high standards and extolling the value of the coaching process in individuals, businesses and organizations reaching their full potential.

Additional Resources

International Coach Federation
2365 Harrodsburg Rd., Suite A325
Lexington, KY 40504
888-423-3131
www.coachfederation.org

National Consortium for Credentialing Health and Wellness Coaches
PO Box 16307
San Diego, CA 92176
866-535-7929
www.ncchwc.org

Health Promotion Specialists

Population health is an emerging field that considers and addresses both health improvements and the elimination of disparities. The Master of Science in Health Promotion will prepare you to play a critical role in this movement and enable you to contribute to the national transformation from disease-focused health care to a wellness-based model predicated on prevention and education.

Occupational Outlook

The BLS combines data for “Health Educators” and “Community Health Workers” into one report. It defines community health workers as individuals who “collect data and discuss health concerns with members of specific populations or communities.” The median annual wage for community health workers was $37,330 in May 2016. Combined employment statistics of health educators and community health worker data suggests the fields are projected to grow 13 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. Growth will be driven by efforts to improve health outcomes and to reduce healthcare costs by teaching people healthy habits and behaviors and explaining how to use available healthcare services.

Career Opportunities

  • Community health educators
  • Health educators at government agencies, companies, and nonprofit organizations
  • Health educators in medical settings and fitness centers
  • Health communications experts
  • Policy makers
  • Health advocates
  • Researchers and program evaluators
  • Faculty at universities and colleges
  • Writers, editors, and publishers of books and articles

Certification and Credentials

Graduates of the Master of Science in Health Promotion will meet the eligibility requirements to take the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) exam through the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing.

Additional Information

National Commission for Health Education Credentialing
1541 Alta Drive, Suite 303
Whitehall, PA 18052
(484) 223-0770
www.nchec.org

Yoga Therapists

Yoga is one of the nation’s leading natural therapies used by millions of Americans to address chronic and acute conditions, and to promote a lifetime of health and well-being. In fact, yoga saw a 20 percent increase in use among adults and children during the previous decade, and those health trends are expected to continue. As the country continues to experience spiraling disease rates and healthcare costs, more Americans will turn to yoga therapy as a proven and cost-effective model for relief.

Occupational Outlook

BLS does not make projections specifically on yoga therapy as a career field, but they do have data on the broader field of physical therapists. Physical therapists are defined as individuals who “help injured or ill people improve their movement and manage their pain. These therapists are often an important part of the rehabilitation, treatment, and prevention of patients with chronic conditions, illnesses, or injuries.” Employment of physical therapists is projected to grow 34 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for physical therapy services will come from the aging baby boomers, who are staying active later in life. In addition, physical therapists will be needed to treat people with mobility issues stemming from chronic conditions, such as diabetes or obesity. The median annual wage for physical therapists is $85,400.

It is worth noting that in February 2017, The American College of Physicians publicly recommended that physicians and patients treat acute or subacute low back pain with non-drug therapies, and included yoga as an evidence-based treatment option. In June of that same year, a study published in Annals of Internal Medicine found that yoga performed as well as conventional physical therapy at restoring function and reducing the need for pain medication over time. These findings suggest a potential increase in demand for services from yoga therapists.

Career Opportunities

  • Yoga therapist in private practice
  • Clinical practitioner in integrative health practices, fitness centers, medical centers, and other health-related organizations
  • Consultant to public and community health efforts
  • Corporate wellness program designer
  • Faculty in higher education and educator in schools
  • Writer, publisher, and editor of written and electronic publications

Certification and Credentials

MUIH’s Master of Science in Yoga Therapy is accredited by the Accreditation Committee of the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT). Graduates will be able to apply for the certified yoga therapist (C-IAYT) credential.

Additional Information

International Association of Yoga Therapists
PO Box 251563
Little Rock, AR 72225
928-541-0004
www.iayt.org

Herbal Medicine Practitioners

Herbal therapeutics are used to support and restore health and wellness around the world. As people increasingly seek natural healing as one of their healthcare choices, the need for knowledgeable professionals in this field continues to grow.

Occupational Outlook

Those who study herbal medicine have a number of related careers that they can pursue. BLS does not make projections specifically on herbalists, but they do have data on the broader field of health diagnosing and treating practitioners. During the years between 2014 and 2024, the BLS estimated that open positions for professionals in this broad category would grow by 12 percent. The median annual salary earned by professionals in this category was $74,710, as reported by the BLS in 2015.

According to a 2012 National Health Interview Survey on the trends in use of integrative health in US adults, "nonvitamin, nonmineral dietary supplements are the most commonly used complementary health approach among U.S. adults."  Supplement use among adults increased by over 6 percent from 2002 to 2012. Study.com offers a career-outlook summary for herbalists based on the BLS statistics.

Some comparable career statistics are available for soil and plant scientists, biochemists and biophysicists, agricultural and food scientists, and pharmacists, (see chart). 

Career Opportunities

  • Herbalist in private practice or in integrative settings
  • Herbal researcher
  • Information specialist for herbal industry trade groups
  • Quality control in the natural products industry
  • Compliance substantiation for federal regulatory agencies
  • Product formulation and development in food and herbal industries
  • Faculty at universities, state colleges, and community colleges
  • Herbal and health educator
  • Writer, editor, or publisher
  • Note: Combining herbal medicine with other disciplines offers additional career options.

Certification and Credentials

Herbal medicine remains an unlicensed field but does offer a recognized board certification through the American Herbalists Guild, a body of professional herbalists certifying a high level of knowledge and experience in botanical medicine. Graduates of the Master of Science in Therapeutic Herbalism are eligible to apply for this credential.

Graduates of MUIH’s Clinical Herbalism area of concentration may pursue the Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) credential by taking 16 credits in nutrition and related topics. See more about the CNS exam under the Master of Science in Nutrition and Integrative Health.

Additional Information

American Herbalists Guild
125 South Lexington Avenue, Suite 101
Asheville, NC 28801
617-520-4372
www.americanherbalistsguild.com

Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists
4707 Willow Springs Rd, Suite 207
La Grange, IL 60525
202-903-0267
www.cbns.org