Over the last couple of years I have been giving talks and running workshops which I have thoroughly enjoyed. I love bringing people closer to plants improving their health. This then lead me to offer distance learning courses which have also brought a whole new group of people to herbal medicine. Some students have come to all of those and come out the other end asking, what now?
If you have a passion for herbal medicine should you become a medical herbalist?
Only you can really answer that and it is certainly not a career path for the faint hearted. There is a lot of work and while it is immensely rewarding, it is really a vocation rather than a job.
After many people asking me if I would consider teaching them as apprentices I decided to look further into the options available.
The following table shows the courses available in the UK today that train medical herbalists.
|Course type||Level||Number of years to complete (based on full time study)||Total cost of the course (course fees only, not including books, travel, accommodation, and additional clinical hour fees)||
|Subject based diploma course – self home study and seminar days||Diploma||4 years||£5750* (sliding scale available) (£1600 years 2 – 4)||
Working towards NIMH accreditation
|College of Naturopathic Medicine – Diploma in herbal medicine (seminars taught across the country)||Module based diploma course – self home study and seminar days||Equivalent of a degree||3 years||£19,040*||Association of Master Herbalists (AMH)|
|Irish School of Herbal Medicine
(County Laois, Ireland)
|Module based – all online apart from the clinical hours||4 years||£9016 (£2254 per year)||The Irish Association of Master Medical Herbalists|
|Lincoln College – BSc Herbal Medicine||Modular block learning – self home study and seminar days (8 x 3 day weekends a year, plus clinical training)||Undergraduate degree||3 years||£22500 (£7500 per year)||EHTPA|
|School of Intuitive Herbalism (Stroud)||Traditional apprenticeship style – self study||7 years||£9800 (£1400 per year)||Not accredited|
|Sensory solutions herbal apprenticeship (Dorset)||Self study and apprenticeship to a local herbalist, as well as residential weeks seasonally||Not accredited|
|South West School of Herbal Medicine (Somerset)||Advanced diploma (beyond undergraduate degree)||6 years||£18000 (£3000 per year)||Working towards NIMH accreditation|
|Veriditas Hibernica – and then Colaiste Luibheanna (Cork, Ireland) apprenticeship||Apprenticeship with Nikki Darrell for 2 years, then self home study and seminar days (5 days every two months, plus clinical training)||4 years||£4400 (not including any clinic hours – all must be completed and paid for separately)||Not accredited by access to CPP and IRH PAs.|
|Welsh school of Herbal Medicine (West Wales)||Block learning – self home study and seminar days, plus clinical training||Working towards NIMH accreditation|
|The University of Westminster – BSc Herbal Medicine (London)||Some blended learning but attendance is weekly||3 years||£27000 (£9000 per year)||EHTPA|
(*information accurate as of 20/05/16)
From months of research and speaking to the herbalists who are offering the apprenticeship programmes, I have decided to begin my own. My apprenticeship programme is called Betonica herbal apprenticeship and it is a four year programme combining (what I hope) is the best bits from each of the courses.There is certainly a shift occurring, as the degree programmes are closing, the small courses and apprenticeships are springing up to plug the gap. The last thing we want is for herbalists to become an endangered species.
After attending a discussion at the radical herbal gathering this year and speaking to people who wanted to undertake an apprenticeship or course of some kind, the main element that was a barrier to their study was the cost of the courses available. With this in mind I have kept the course fees to an absolute minimum in order to enable more people the option to train as a medical herbalist.
Please do take a look at my new sister website www.betonica.co.uk.