Doctoral degrees in alternative medicine are required in some select disciplines and may be offered in other areas if you plan to go into research, wish to teach at the college level, or plan to oversee clinical training yourself.
The most common doctoral degree in alterative medicine is the Doctor of Chiropractic Degree, which is required if you want to set... up a chiropractic practice. These degree programs usually include both classroom coursework and clinical training. In addition to studying sciences related to the field, such as anatomy, and mastering various chiropractic techniques, your studies may include business courses that can help you prepare to run your own practice.
You may also earn a Ph.D. in Oriental Medicine or a Doctorate in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM). These programs prepare you to use traditional herbs, acupuncture, and techniques based on Asian medicine to heal ailments and promote good health. The doctoral degree program can include both classroom study and hands-on experience. Depending on which areas of medicine you plan to specialize in, courses may include the study of herbology, anatomy, pain treatment, gynecology, or oncology. You may also be required to take courses in clinical research, nutrition, and counseling. The goal of the Ph.D. or DAOM program is to help graduates understand how to integrate alternative and Western medicine. This training will help you to advance within conventional medical settings such as hospitals or within a special alternative practice.
Other specialty areas within the field of alternative medicine may offer doctoral-level study that will prepare you to work in academics or advance your clinical career. For instance, if you are a licensed massage therapist you might pursue a doctorate degree in alternative medicine that can prepare you to teach, conduct research, or consult in the areas of sports medicine and stress management.
The general population has increasingly sought the services of chiropractors, acupuncturists, massage therapists, and practitioners of Oriental medicine. However, since these services may not be covered by medical insurance, it can be difficult for those in these fields to maintain a strong client base. When paying for services out of pocket, patients may be more selective and choose providers with advanced qualifications over those with just a master degree or license. Therefore, a doctorate degree in your area of specialty may make you more attractive to patients and help you build your practice.