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

Herbalists promote access to safe and effective herbal medicine. They also provide education on the traditional uses of herbs from various cultures.

Also Known As

Alternative Healthcare Practitioner, Complementary and Alternative Medicine Practitioner

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Herbalists (3232.4) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Midwives and Practitioners of Natural Healing (D232) 
  • 2011 NOC: Practitioners of natural healing (3232) 
  • 2016 NOC: Practitioners of natural healing (3232) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.


2006 NOC: 3232.4

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

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


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


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

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests


Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Updated Oct 20, 2014

Herbology is the study of plants and their health benefits. It comes from western, Indigenous, traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic (East Indian) traditions.

Herbalists may:

  • recommend herbal products for clients
  • grow herbs
  • produce or develop herbal compounds and tinctures
  • trade herbs for commercial purposes or act as wholesale distributors
  • teach or write about herbology.

Clinical herbalists work one-on-one with clients. Their role depends on where they work and what type of herbology they practice. In general, they:

  • interview clients to learn their health profile (such as health problems, personal and family medical history, current medical prescriptions and lifestyle)
  • observe clients to determine their general physical, mental and emotional state
  • determine the most likely underlying health problems
  • recommend suitable changes in diet
  • suggest supplements or prepared herbal products
  • create unique mixtures for specific clients
  • recommend lifestyle changes.

Clinical herbalists work in clinics. They have specialized education and expertise.

Practical herbalists work in herbal or health food stores. They answer customer questions and make suggestions. They may also process herbs or make products, supervised by a senior herbalist.

Working Conditions
Updated Oct 20, 2014
  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg

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

Traits & Skills
Updated Oct 20, 2014

Herbalists need to have:

  • an interest in improving client health
  • an interest in working with people one-on-one
  • the ability to communicate and get along well with all kinds of people
  • an eagerness for lifelong learning (the ongoing pursuit of knowledge related to herbology and natural medicines).

They should enjoy:

  • talking to people
  • analyzing information
  • handling herbs.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Practitioners of natural healing

2016 NOC: 3232

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 24 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Jan 29, 2022 and May 29, 2023.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Tasks: Diagnose the diseases, physiological disorders and injuries of patients and treat them
Work under pressure
Tasks: Provide other alternative forms of health care to patients
Tasks: Manipulate or apply pressure to various parts of the body, hands and feet
Tasks: Diagnose illnesses and treat them by administering, in chemical or herbal form, a small dosage of the illness itself
Construction Specialization: Effective interpersonal skills
Construction Specialization: Client focus
Construction Specialization: Organized
Construction Specialization: Reliability
Educational Requirements
Updated Oct 20, 2014
  • Minimum Education Varies

The practice of herbology is not regulated in Alberta. There are no standard minimum education or training requirements. However, practising herbalists strongly recommend education or training in herbology, nutrition, anatomy and physiology.

The Ontario Herbalists Association reviews training programs offered across Canada and lists approved programs on its 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.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.


Three and 4-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
  • Certification Not Regulated

Professional membership is available on a voluntary basis from the Alberta Herbalists Association (AHA).

Self-employed herbalists may need to have a municipal business license. They should also 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
  • private homes
  • farms
  • greenhouses.

Herbalists are often self-employed and build their own client base. They may be employed by others or set up their own shops or private practices. Some herbalists:

  • work with medical / naturopathic doctors or other health practitioners
  • grow herbs for sale
  • develop and / or produce herbal products for wholesale distribution
  • provide consulting services
  • host workshops, classes and plant walks
  • write books, blogs or make videos.

Advancement in this occupation generally takes the form of building a larger client base or offering other alternative health services (such as recommending diet and lifestyle changes, or doing bioresonance therapy).

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 3232: Practitioners of natural healing occupational group, 87.0% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 3232: Practitioners of natural healing occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3.3% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 20 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2019-2023 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Oct 20, 2014

Practical herbalists employed in health food stores or other retail outlets earn hourly wages similar to other retail salespersons (for more information, see theoccupational profile).

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

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:

Ontario Herbalists Association website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 16, 2018. 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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