While there are no regulated licensing requirements to become an herbalist, an aspiring herbalist may want to obtain a college degree in botany or science before completing a training program and obtaining optional certifications. As of 2014, herbalists are not recognized as doctors in the United States or several other countries.
An aspiring professional herbalist should obtain a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as botany or biology. Herbalists commonly receive degrees in specialty fields, like traditional Chinese medicine. A degree may be a requirement for certain graduate or professional schools that teach herbal medicine.
After obtaining a degree, an herbalist should seek to complete a herbology training program. Herbalists who seek to only advise clients should enroll in schools offering workshops, independent study and non-degree training programs. Herbology students who intend to practice herbal medicine should undertake a more rigorous study program. This includes graduate schools that offer master and doctoral degrees in traditional Chinese medicine or a similar field.
There are many voluntary certifications available to herbologists who wish to specialize in specific areas of medicine. Students studying traditional Western medicine who seek to become Allopathic physicians may obtain a certification in complementary medicine through the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine. The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine also offers several specialized certifications, such as the Diplomate of Oriental Medicine, to students who have completed the education prerequisites and pass an exam.