Complementary and Alternative Medicine

The Profession

Who they are: People practicing in these fields may provide a holistic approach to health and healing. They will diagnose and treat ailments using the self-healing abilities of the body however treatments may be used in conjunction with traditional medical care.

What they do: In the study of complementary and alternative health care, there are several areas of specialty. Careers options in this field include health coaches, massage therapists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, ethno-pharmacists and therapeutic landscape designers.

Where they work: Complementary and alternative medicine providers can work in many different settings. They may open a private practice, work with other alternative medicine providers, or even work in a traditional healthcare setting like a clinic or hospital.

Outlook: Complementary and alternative health care is one of the fastest growing health care segments in the United States. In particular, there are strong growth areas in chiropractic care and massage therapy. Common employment settings include clinics, hospitals and healing centers. Increasingly, many providers operate private practices.


Depending on the direction you would like to go in this area, different educational pathways will exist.

Alternative Therapies: View the University of Minnesota's Center for Spirituality and Healing website for additional information on education in this area. For example, students can pursue a graduate minor, a post-baccalaureate certificate in Integrative Therapies & Healing Practices, or a graduate certificate in Health Coaching.

Chiropractor: If you are interested in becoming a chiropractor, try exploring accredited educational options at the Council on Chiropractic Education.

Massage Therapy: Look at the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation for a list of accredited schools.

U of M Program