Complementary and alternative medicine is increasing in popularity, as patients are able to play a more active role in the management of their health conditions. Ayurvedic medicine is one such approach. Doctors or practitioners in this medical system help people balance their body, mind and spirit in hopes of promoting wellness. While the U.S. doesn’t have a national standard for training or certification, employers typically seek candidates with formal training. Many practitioners study in India, but programs are available in the U.S.
Ayurvedic doctors fall under the category of “Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners” within the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As of 2012, salaries averaged at $85,740 a year. The top 10 percent of earners made more than $140,720, while the bottom 10 percent earned less than $40,020 annually. A survey by the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges provides similar figures, placing the average at between $80,000 and $90,000 a year.
As with any job, experience affects earnings, and ayurvedic doctors are no exception. The Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges estimates the salaries of first-year residents at $20,000 to $30,000 annually. Those with an established practice can earn as much as $200,000 a year.
Alternative medicine professionals earned the highest wages in Connecticut, where the average was $139,090 a year, according to the BLS. Those working in Maryland were a distant second, at an average of $115,840, while those in the District of Columbia ranked third, averaging $101,780 annually. Though data was limited, salaries were the lowest in Montana, with an average of $43,610 a year.
The BLS expects employment for ayurvedic doctors -- as well as those that fall within a similar category -- to grow by as much as 19 percent through 2020 -- faster than the growth rate for all U.S. occupations, an average of 14 percent. With roughly 55,000 people working in this industry, the 19-percent growth rate works out to the creation of almost 11,000 new jobs. Expect additional opportunities to develop from alternative health practitioners retiring or leaving the field.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners, All Others
- Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges: Naturopathic Medicine FAQ
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Employment in Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Ayurvedic Medicine
- American University of Complementary Medicine: Doctor of Ayurvedic Medicine
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