7 Schools etc.

So you want to go to a herb school? There's lots. Which are the good ones? Which will give you value for your money and which will hand you fancy gold-plated diplomas instead of the knowledge you went there for? Which are the ones where you'll have to arrive with a chastity belt firmly locked in order to avoid the teachers' amorous advances? Where will you learn all about goats and rather less about herbs?

The best way to find out juicy bits like that is to attend a herbal conference or two, and gossip. I can recommend the Southwest conference for that myself, as I've been to that one, but I expect others will be equally enlightening.

Note, the herb school I attended gave excellent value for the money; the diploma is factual and not that fancy; I didn't learn squat about goats; and I didn't have to fend off any of the teachers, either. All this before I attended even one conference ... lucky me, eh?

There is no really comprehensive up-to-date list of herbal schools anywhere. This list will, well, list some schools; there are other lists elsewhere.

Whichever school you choose, do read the accreditation notes on this page, especially if you're going for an acknowledged degree (ND).

7.1 Some hands-on schools I know of in the US

ND degrees:

These schools give you -real- ND degrees, with the possibility to get a ND license in one of the licensing states. There are also fake ND schools - read about those here: 7.6, Accreditation.

Other herbal hands-on schools:



  • Columbines and Wizardry Herbs, Howie Brounstein, Eugene, Oregon. A wildcrafting class.
  • Pacific School of Herbal Medicine, Adam Seller. Oakland, California. Classes range from a couple of hours (for beginners) through 650 hours (to become a professional herbalist). Adam also has clinical case studies for the practising herbalist.
  • Christopher Hobbs, Williams, OR. 8 month apprenticeship program, one weekend a month.
  • Herbal Therapeutics, David Winston. Broadway, NJ. A two-year school with classes one evening a week.
  • Sage Mountain, Rosemary Gladstar, Vermont. 12 month apprenticeship program, one weekend a month.
  • Sierra Institute of Herbal Studies: Dodie Harte, California, near Yosemite. 8 month intensive, meeting one weekend a month.

7.2 Some hands-on schools in Canada

ND degree:

This school gives you a -real- ND degree, with the possibility to get a ND license in one of the licensing states. There are also fake ND schools - read about those here: 7.6, Accreditation

Other herbal hands-on schools:

7.3 Some correspondence courses I know of in the US

7.4 Some schools and correspondence courses elsewhere

The UK Herb Society

The NIMH (the National Institute of Medical Herbalists, UK) also lists some schools; unfortunately, their list is rather out of date.

7.5 About correspondence schools, and licensing of herbalists

From: tim.thorne.thorne.com (Tim Birdsall, ND)

I have absolutely no quarrel with distance learning. However there is a substantive difference between getting an MBA by home study and getting a health care degree! How can you learn physical diagnosis without someone standing over your shoulder saying "No, the spleen is here." or "Yes, this person's liver feels enlarged." To the best of my knowledge, no other health care profession has any legitimate degrees offered exclusively via home study.

7.6 Accreditation of ND schools and ND licensing in the US

From: Paul Bergner <bergner.concentric.net>
Subject: Clayton School

Someone recently posted that the Clayton School had obtained "accreditation". By what body, may I ask? Is it something recognized by the Department of Education, or is it some form of gratuitous self-accreditation? The test of legitimacy is whether students are eligible for government student loans.

From Henriette:
I'm told that Clayton have cleaned up their act and ditched the "ND" degree. I'm also told that they're going for real accreditation (with the DETC). If they make it all the way through that process their students are eligible for student loans. (Clayton's "ND" degrees were in essence diploma mill toilet paper. Real ND degrees require about 4 years of on-site study.)

The accrediting agency for naturopathic schools is the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME), Eugene OR. http://www.cnme.org
The CNME is accredited by the US Department of Education and is the only recognized licensing agency for naturopathic medical schools in the US.

States in which you can get licensed as an ND:

If you're an ND who has graduated from one of the eligible ND schools you can get licensed in these states:
Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Montana, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, Utah,
after passing the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Exam (NPLEx).

There are additional recognized ND licenses in Florida. No new licenses are being granted there, however.

British Columbia and Ontaria currently license NDs who pass licensing exams and who have graduated from any of the legitimate naturopathic medical schools with an ND.

Other resources:

Federation of Naturopathic Medical Licensing Boards, Inc., 5002 W Glendale Ave, Ste 101, Glendale, AZ 85301, USA, phone 602-937-4756.

American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP), Seattle, WA. http://www.naturopathic.org/