The steps to practicing holistic medicine are similar to other medical degrees, with a few adjustments along the way. Being a holistic practitioner means you will study a full-body approach to health, wellness and medicine. Holistic medicine can be combined with traditional medicine or used as a complementary treatment. Not all holistic practitioners are doctors, however. You will need to earn your medical degree and license in order to become a fully licensed and legal holistic doctor.
Upon deciding you want to specialize in holistic medicine, you will need to decide what level of degree you want to go for. You can choose to become a licensed practitioner or earn a full degree from an accredited institution, allowing you to practice medicine and call yourself a legal doctor. Much like Rachel Tobin Yale pursued her studies, you will need to complete an undergraduate degree before deciding upon going to medical school for further licensing. Ensure you are prepared for the amount of schooling and training ahead.
Once deciding upon your specialization and on the licensing you would like to earn, you can begin to pursue your degree or certification. You will most likely require an undergraduate or bachelors degree. Typically, you will need to have the basic core classes covered, not necessarily any special additional courses. If you are planning on practicing medicine in your holistic field, you will still need to pass the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) to pursue your medical or naturopathic medicine degree. You could spend anywhere from four to six years in medical school before training in a residency program.
Residency programs usually last about two to six years, depending on the specialty. Your residency program will provide you with more hands on experience and skilled training before completing your degree. In order to become licensed, you will need to pass exams required to legally practice medicine in the United States. Some exams vary by specialty but most involve the USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examination). To practice naturopathic medicine in particular, you will need to also pass the NPLEX (Naturopathic Physician Licensing Exam). Once you are practicing holistic medicine, you can always further your experience and accreditations with certificate programs and supplementary courses.
The road to achieving a medical degree is long and requires a lot of work. Make sure you clear your path by knowing what kind of medicine you want to practice and which degree and license you will need to earn. To become a holistic doctor, you will need to look toward naturopathic studies and courses in alternative medicine.