Would you like to study natural medicine and become a Heilpraktiker, naturterapeut, naturopath or traditional medicine practitioner? Good move!
This page is designed to help you reach your goal, no matter if you live in Australia, Germany or Norway. I hope you find the information here useful. I put it together after finding my way through the different systems available in all three countries.
P.S. If you decide to move from one country to another in the middle of your studies, then be prepared for an adventure. The best solution is to finish off your course in one country first. Fortunately, the German Heilpraktiker title is recognised in Norway.
To practise as a natural medicine practitioner in Australia, you need to abide by the rules of your specific industry or field, whether this is massage, herbal medicine, nutritional therapy, naturopathy, fitness instruction, lymphatic drainage, cupping, reflexology, or traditional Chinese medicine.
The range, knowledge and competency in Australia is high. Study is undertaken at either a private school, an accredited trainer, or at a university, and usually takes anywhere from a week up to 5 years, depending on your chosen field and the qualification offered (certificate, diploma or Bachelor degree). Once you pass an exam or assessment, you’ll be ready to start practising and are entitled to register with the appropriate professional association.
Recommended schools include Health Traditions and Byron Thai Massage School. Professional association includes Massage Association of Australia.
To practise as a Heilpraktiker in Germany, you need to abide by the Heilpraktikergesetz and laws concerning the treatment of infectious diseases.
Study takes place at a recognised school, which offers the Heilpraktiker Ausbildung. Depending on how fast you are, this can take anywhere from 1-3 years.
At the end, you’ll undergo an oral and written exam conducted by the health ministry in the area where you live. You’ll also need to undergo a medical and police check, be over the age of 25 years and provide evidence of secondary schooling.
Once all that has been cleared and you pass your exams, you’ll be given approval by the State to work as a Heilpraktiker.
Depending on the school you choose, you can continue further education in your preferred area of specialisation, and do an internship with a private practitioner and/or recognised clinic.
Recommended school includes Heilpraktikerschule Isolde Richter. For areas of specialisation, please check Földi College for Manual Lymph Drainage, Kneipp Schule and over the border in Switzerland, there are a wide range of courses at the Heilpraktikerschule Luzern.
To practise as a natural medicine practitioner in Norway, you need to abide by the law concerning the alternative treatment of illness. As long as you follow this law, you don’t need to be registered or approved by the government.
But if you wish to become a member of a professional natural medicine association, you’ll need to have studied an approved and recognised course. The advantages of becoming a member are credibility, entitlement to insurance, validation of qualifications, tax benefits and access to peer support and network.
To become a member of one of the national associations, there is one Norwegian-specific requirement that you must have and that is VEKS – the study of Vitenskap, Etikk, Kommunikasjon og Samfunn – which basically gives you a primer on the Norwegian way of doing things.
You also need to have studied foundational medicine (which is covered in the Heilpraktiker Ausbildung if you come from Germany), foundational natural medicine, and have at least one area of specialisation, which is recognised and approved in Norway, such as cupping, homeopathy, reflexology, acupuncture, etc.
Once your qualifications are scrutinised, and you are accepted as a member, you have the possibility of registering with the Brunnøysundregisteret, where you are publicly listed and able to apply for tax benefits (for your future clients).
Schools recommended include Tunsberg medisinske skole and Norsk Heilpraktikerskole. For areas of specialisation, please check Akademi for fem elementer. As for professional associations, you can choose between Norske Naturterapeuters Hovedorganisasjon and Norges Landsforbund av Homøopraktikere. They have different approaches and requirements.