Alternative Medicine Degrees: What you can do apart from MD in US
Getting through the rigorous MD courses and licensing procedure in the US is difficult for international applicants. In such a situation students may seek alternative medicine courses. These alternative degrees and certifications include discipline such as chiropractic, acupuncture and naturopathy. However, these areas of healthcare and their practicing license is not recognized in all US states, which may lead to job opportunities varying by location.
Sources estimate jobs for chiropractors to increase by 30% within 2010 to 2020. In 2012 the median salary of a chiropractor was $67,000. In 2013, the median annual salary for acupuncturists was $54,000. In 2013, the median salary for Naturopathic physicians was $62,000. Osteopathic practitioners earned a median salary of $172,000 in 2012. Jobs in this sector are expected to grow by 24% within 2010 to 2020.
Chiropractors manually align a patient's spine, vertebrae or ribs after determining so through use of x-rays. They help align the musculoskeletal arrangement, especially the spine and vertebrae. Apart from this, Chiropractors also offer nutritional counseling or acupuncture services. Although, Chiropractors are not allowed to perform any surgery or prescribe drugs.
Chiropractic practitioners should possess a four year Doctor of Chiropractic degrees from recognized college. Most of these masters’ degrees require holding a four year bachelor's degree. Licensure is to be applied in the states for after completion of the degree.
Acupuncturists and Oriental medicine practitioners are required to earn a masters’ degree, diploma or certificate from college recognized by Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Some students also go on and earn either a Ph.D. or a specialized doctoral degree like the Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM).
Naturopathic physicians treat their patients employing various alternative and holistic therapies such as homeopathy, herbalism and nutritional therapy.
Naturopathic physicians must complete doctoral degree through a recognized college. Completion of the program will take four years. According to The Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC) the training will also include learning of natural healing methods along with conventional medical science.
Osteopathic physicians provide services including diagnosis, medical testing, surgery and prescription of medicines. An osteopathic physician also receives training in spinal manipulation. The approach is more holistic.
A Doctor of Osteopathy degree (DO) is granted to an Osteopathic physician from college recognized by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA). The duration of the program is four years.