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Herbalist

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.

  • Avg. Salary N/A
  • Avg. Wage N/A
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed < 1500
  • In Demand High
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) 
Interest Codes
The Herbalist is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Herbalists
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. 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

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 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.
Educational Requirements
Updated Oct 20, 2014

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 Herbalist 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.

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

 

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

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).

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 [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events that affect overall employment (especially in the Health Care and Assistance industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities that come up when people leave existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities that come up when new positions are created)
  • 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 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: www.chaofbc.ca

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

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Supports Centre near you.

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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