Naturopaths work in natural health clinics, private practice, health-food shops and pharmacies. They may also work from home or travel to their clients’ homes. They need clean and comfortable environments that are warm, well-ventilated and quiet.
On average, naturopaths, classified under complementary health therapists, can expect to earn between $800 and $900 per week ($41 600 and $51 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a naturopath develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.
Once qualified, many naturopaths run their own small business. Earnings will depend on the level of demand for their services, as well as their level of skill and experience.
Naturopaths may use traditional medical equipment such as stethoscopes and thermometers, as well as specialised alternative therapy equipment such as acupressure machines, acupuncture needles, magnifier and iris cameras and electronic diagnostic equipment. They may refer to natural health reference books, and may need to be familiar with natural remedies such as herbs, minerals, vitamins or other homeopathic remedies.
To become a naturopath, you usually need to complete a qualification in the therapy you wish to specialise in.
Private registered training organisations offer relevant VET courses and bachelor degrees in alternative therapies in Western Australia. Contact the Australian Natural Therapists Association or the Australian Traditional Medicine Society for more information.
There are currently no university courses available in alternative therapies in Western Australia. Charles Sturt University, in New South Wales, offers a four and a half year Bachelor of Heath Science (Complementary Medicine). The University of Technology, in Sydney, offers a four year Bachelor of Health Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology offers a five year Bachelor of Health Science/ Bachelor of Applied Science (Chinese Medicine). Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.
To practice in Chinese medicine in Western Australia, you must be registered with the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia. Members are required to obtain a degree to practise Chinese medicine.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.
If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
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If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.