When choosing a course to prepare you to become a practitioner in herbal or traditional medicine there are a wide range of factors that you need to consider. These include location, type of delivery, facilities provided by the institution you join and many other less tangible factors. This guidance focuses on advice relating to future career choice and gaining professional accreditation.
There are many traditions in herbal and traditional medicine and you should select a programme that provides you with the necessary training to join one of these traditions. It is not possible for you to undertake an individual course that will provide entry to more than one tradition. It is therefore important that you find out as much as you can about the various traditions so that you can select one that is most in tune with your own values. To find out more information you should look at the web sites of the professional associations that make up the European Herbal and Traditional Medicines Association (EHTPA).
At this point in time the Department of Health is considering how to regulate herbal and traditional medicine practitioners. It is likely that there will be a statutory register from 2012 or soon thereafter. A Department of Health Working Group had indicated that graduates from either the EHTPA or the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (NIMH) accredited programmes will be able to gain direct entry to the register. This may not be the case for other unaccredited courses or courses accredited by other bodies although this may change once the process of statutory regulation unfolds.
There are a substantial number of UK institutions providing training in herbal and traditional medicine. If you have any intention of undertaking a career in this area then you should ensure that your chosen programme is accredited by the EHTPA. Accreditation provides an assurance that the standards of the accredited programme have been subjected to external scrutiny and meet the minimum standards laid down by the EHTPA.
If you want more information about the various options available to you then you should look at the web site and contact the institution that delivers the programme that you are interested in or the relevant associations that you would wish to consider joining on graduation. Their web site addresses are available from the links within this guidance.
As there is no common regulatory framework for the training of Herbal and Traditional Medicine practitioners across the EU, the EHTPA can currently only accredit programmes delivered in the UK and any accredited programmes can only provide training to practise within the UK.