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Occupational Profile

Herbalist

Herbalists advise people about the use of herbs and dietary supplements to maintain good health and relieve symptoms related to conditions such as arthritis, rheumatism, asthma, skin disorders or stomach ailments.

  • Avg. Salary N/A
  • Avg. Wage N/A
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed 2,100
  • In Demand High
Also Known As

Complimentary Medicine Practitioner

NOC & Interest Codes
The Herbalist is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Herbalists
NOC code: 3232.4
SOCIAL

Interest in analyzing information provided by patients concerning health problems and disorders

INNOVATIVE

Interest in handling varieties of herbs used as sources of healing; may sell these herbs

DIRECTIVE

Interest in instructing patients on the proper use of herbs to treat disorders

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation. 

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Oct 20, 2014

Herbology is the study of plants and their health benefits. There are a number of different traditions of herbology including Western, Indigenous, Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic (East Indian).

Herbalists may apply their knowledge of herbology to:

  • recommend herbal products for clients
  • cultivate herbs
  • manufacture or formulate herbal compounds and tinctures
  • trade herbs for commercial purposes or act as wholesale distributors
  • teach or write about herbology.

Clinical herbalists deal directly with clients. Their duties and responsibilities depend on where they work and the type of herbology they practice. In general, however, they:

  • interview clients about health problems, personal and family medical history, current medical prescriptions and lifestyle
  • observe clients to determine their general physical, mental and emotional condition
  • determine the most likely underlying health problems
  • recommend appropriate dietary changes, supplements or prepared herbal products, create unique mixtures for individual clients or recommend lifestyle changes.

Practical herbalists working in herbal or health food stores answer customers' questions and make recommendations. Those working in herbal wellness centres generally conduct lengthier interviews and may be more knowledgeable.

Working Conditions
Updated Oct 20, 2014

Herbalists may work in private homes, stores, clinics (sometimes alongside chiropractors, naturopaths or other health practitioners), wellness centres or greenhouses. Lifting up to 10 kilograms may be required.

Hours of work vary and may include some evenings and weekends. Sometimes, clients call herbalists for advice outside of regular working hours.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Oct 20, 2014

Herbalists need the following characteristics:

  • a genuine interest in working with people on a one-to-one basis and in improving client health
  • the ability to communicate and get along well with all kinds of people
  • a willingness to upgrade their knowledge of herbology and natural medicines on an ongoing basis.

They should enjoy talking to people, analyzing information and handling herbs.

Educational Requirements
Updated Oct 20, 2014

The practice of herbology is not regulated in Alberta. There areno standard minimum education or training requirements. However, practising herbalists strongly recommend education or training in herbology, nutrition, anatomy and physiology.

The Ontario Herbalist Association reviews training programs offered across Canada and lists approved programs on their website. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective herbalists should discuss their training options with practising herbalists.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Three and four year programs in Traditional Chinese Medicine may include courses in herbology (for more information, see the Acupuncturist occupational profile).

Certification Requirements
Updated Oct 20, 2014

Self-employed herbalists may be required to have a municipal business license and should have some form of malpractice insurance.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Oct 20, 2014

Herbalists work in:

  • health food stores
  • chiropractic offices
  • physiotherapy clinics
  • herbal healing centres
  • wellness centres.

They may be employed by others or set up their own shops or private practices. Some herbalists:

  • work with medical or naturopathic doctors
  • grow herbs for sale
  • manufacture herbal products and sell them wholesale to distributors
  • formulate herbal products
  • provide consulting services.

Advancement in this occupation generally takes the form of building a larger client base or offering other alternative health services (for example, providing diet and lifestyle recommendations, bioresonance therapy).

Herbalists are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 3232: Practitioners of Natural Healing.  In Alberta, 75% of people employed in this classification work in the Health Care and Social Assistance (PDF) industry.

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Health Care and Assistance industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Oct 20, 2014

Practical herbalists employed in health food stores or other retail outlets earn hourly wages comparable to other retail salespersons (for more information, see the Retail Salesperson occupational profile).

Treatment fees charged by self-employed clinical herbologists vary considerably. Their take-home pay for any given period depends on the number of clients they see and their overhead costs (for example, the cost of renting office space). Some herbalists supplement their incomes via product sales from dispensaries.

Related High School Subjects
  • Science
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
  • Human Ecology, Fashion and Food Sciences
  • Personal and Food Services
Other Sources of Information
Updated Oct 20, 2014

Canadian Herbalist's Association of British Columbia website: www.chaofbc.ca

Ontario Herbalist Association website: www.herbalists.on.ca

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 20, 2014. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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