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The 6 Best Holistic Medicine Schools in California 2022

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As society grows more accepting of holistic medicine, many people are turning to career training in the field. California has become a national leader in this area, with specialty schools popping up throughout the state.

For those interested in forging a career as a holistic health practitioner, earning a certification remains the best way to get started in alternative medicine. 

Read on for our list of the best holistic medicine schools in California. These programs take place both online and on-site to accommodate nontraditional and working students. Take your education into your own today.


What is a Holistic Medicine School?

holistic medicine schools in california

Holistic medicine schools allow students to pursue permits in alternative wellness. These programs also give them advanced skills to qualify for employment as holistic health practitioners of whole-body sciences. Graduates can go on to pursue work as certified massage therapists, chiropractors, yoga professionals, and acupuncturists.

The practice looks at how the body works together instead of only focusing on one area of the body alone. Holistic Health Practitioners feel that if one part of a person’s health is not working properly, then the whole body is affected.

Holistic medicine colleges are often composed of several courses that range from massage therapy to naturopathy and other alternative medicine. They typically employ veterans in the field to offer students expert knowledge. Some facilities have their own clinics so that students can enjoy a more hands-on approach to learning.

They are accredited and licensed by recognized agencies including the Californian Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education and the California Massage Therapy Council to maintain trust and integrity.

The 6 Best Holistic Medicine Schools in California

ICOHS College

enjoy a private postsecondary education at ICOHS college
Source: ICOHS College

Originally founded in 1984 as an institute for health sciences, ICOHS College has remained a leader of alternative wellness schools in California. The school is committed to putting students first and prides itself on offering an exciting, affordable opportunity for a job in alternative medicine.

Through our massage therapy and holistic health programs, ICOHS College provides comprehensive, accredited education from experts in the field. Highly rated by student graduates, ICOHS College continues to help fuel careers in holistic wellness.

ICOHS College helps students connect with financial aid, breaking down the barriers to discover and learn about health and wellness.

Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine College

san francisco massage school
Source: Unigo

Focusing on acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine, this school in Berkeley, California, can provide training for both Masters and Doctoral degrees in the field. The school specializes in integrative medicine and allows for study in East Asian herbal medicine and Western biomedicine. 

Traditional medicine is growing in popularity in North America, and these services will be warmly welcomed in most communities. Integrative medicine is a booming profession. Getting involved early can help eliminate future competition.

Bastyr University

holistic teaching provided by professional staff
Source: Voice of San Diego

Bastyr University in San Diego, CA, offers a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine program. Supported by the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC), this course prepares students for careers in the alternative wellness field.

This degree takes four years, though there is also a five-year track for a dual degree in counseling. Completion of this program can lead to a future career of self-employment or joining a team of health care professionals.

Those looking to be a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine will appreciate the small class sizes and student-minded approach of the school.

Natural Healing Institute

join the healthcare profession by pursuing California holistic medicine
Source: Google Map

The Natural Healing Institute Francisco in San Diego is a nationally accredited vocational college, offering programs on aromatherapy, plant medicine, nutrition science consulting, holistic practitioner qualifying programs, and naturopathic practitioner qualifying programs, and more. 

The school promotes a community of healing sciences on campus and amongst the student body.

Interested in learning more about how, exactly, to break into this emerging field? Check out our post on How to Become a Licensed Massage Therapist in 2022 today!

Pacific College of Health and Medicine

Pacific College of Health and Medicine
Source: Accommodation Engine

Also located in San Diego, CA, the Pacific College of Health and Medicine offers comprehensive programming across the alternative medicine field. Established in 1986, this school is a leader of holistic medicine schools in California.

Specializing in holistic nursing, acupuncture, massage therapy, medical cannabis, and yoga, those seeking a career in holistic health are sure to find a program of interest.

The school relies on an integrative medicine approach, learning the best from both Eastern and Western medicine theories and practices. Students will also enjoy an enhanced education at the oriental medicine school, which combines hands-on training with class experiences. 

California Institute of the Healing Arts and Sciences

california massage school
Source: California Institute of the Healing Arts and Sciences

Founded in 1943, the CIHAS campus in Sacramento, CA, offers a range of programs across the alternative medicine field.

With programming ranging from Clinical Hypnotherapist, Aromatherapist, Holistic Health Practitioner, Behavioral Therapist, Master Herbal Practitioner, Life Coach Training & Herbal Healing Workshops, CIHAS offers solutions for a wide range of interests.

What types of jobs can I get with these programs?

People who pursue careers in holistic health are often looking for professional opportunities to merge their physical and spiritual capabilities. By studying alternative medicine, students open themselves up to facilities and populations that are looking for health care options outside of standard options.

After achieving certification, a massage therapist can work alongside doctors, physiotherapists, and occupational therapists.

Experts believe that professional licensing helps enhance public safety standards and ensures worker competency across the field. Today, over 40 states issue massage therapy licenses.

Aromatherapy, plant medicine, and life coaching remain particularly popular pursuits since they offer more flexibility than other holistic careers do. Remember, these disciplines can be practiced remotely, so digital nomads and homebodies alike can work according to their own schedules.

How long does it take to become certified?

Holistic health programs vary in length. While some colleges offer certificates and associate programs, some offer more in-depth career training. Masters degrees and Doctorate degrees in alternative medicine can take several years. Shorter programs may only require a few credit hours. Others will prioritize student clinic experience over classroom learning.

Students will spend the bulk of their timing at massage therapy school studying massage techniques, physical anatomy, and holistic remedies.

How do I get accepted to holistic health colleges?

Study massage therapy body healing training

Since “alternative health care” encompasses so many different specialties, admission requirements differ from college to college.

Depending on the accreditation level and program, you may see academic requirements listed on the college website. These often include courses in academic English, math, and human sciences. Before submitting the application, ensure that you have the appropriate credit hours needed for the program.

If your previous academic record could use some work, don’t worry. Many colleges recognize the growth that happens when people leave high school and are willing to let you apply based on personal experience, ability, or upgraded courses. They may allow you to apply if you complete a few pre-requisite credit hours.

Some colleges do not demand specific student requirements and allow you to take courses no matter where you start academically.


Entering into a healing profession can help educate people on the best way to prioritize their health and well-being. By serving the people that need it the most, alternative wellness certifications can help build a fulfilling, meaningful work environment.

With no shortage of alternative wellness colleges in California, students looking to work in body healing and discover their purpose in life can access training.

For more information about massage therapy or holistic health practitioner certifications available at ICOHS College,  contact us at

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