Clinical Herbalist – Year 3 – 421 hours / 1356 total program hours

The Clinical Herbalist training program prepares students for work as professional herbalists.  The curriculum of the Family Herbalist program serves as the first year of the Clinical Herbalist program. The curriculum of the second and third years broadens the focus to develop students’ critical thinking and clinical skills, while examining more complex health conditions, social determinants of health and health justice, business development, teaching, and practice in an integrative medical model. Ultimately, students staff our community clinics, working with their own clients under supervision throughout the third year.

Core faculty: Betzy Bancroft, Larken Bunce; Adjunct faculty: Iris Gage, Kristin Henningsen, Guido Masé, Julie Mitchell, Ilana Sobo

Business Development
15 Hours
Introduces the student to the variety of professional opportunities available to herbalists, as well as to the tools necessary for cultivating a successful business in the field. Students will identify their vision and mission for their future work, understand their personal gifts and challenges in maintaining a practice, and ultimately develop a business plan to implement after completion of the program. In addition, students will develop promotional materials for themselves, which they will use to build their student practice. The intention of this course is to provide students with the business confidence needed to support themselves upon completion of the program.
Clinical Roundtable
90 Hours
Weekly review and discussion of open cases.
Community Teaching Practicum
12 Hours
As health educators, an extension of the work of herbalists is sharing our knowledge in community settings. This course gives students the opportunity to learn to prepare and teach effective workshops on basic herbal topics. A wide range of teaching methods appropriate to community health education will be covered. Student workshops will be offered free of charge as part of the service mission of VCIH.
Herbal Therapeutics /
Considerations for Special Populations II
25 hours
An overview of practical strategies for addressing pathologies in the human system using herbal preparations, nutritional approaches, and lifestyle suggestions. The class will not only review generally accepted standards of herbal practice for specific conditions, but also explain how to tailor herbal formulas to individual constitutions, assess dosage and formulation requirements, and make recommendations for particular populations (such as cancer, autoimmune conditions, and specific chronic illnesses).
Materia Medica III
54 Hours
Continued review of fifty additional botanical medicines, including: botany, harvesting, identification, preparation, dosage, indications and contraindications, phytopharmacology, energetics, historic and modern use, sustainable use, and relevant research. Students will research and prepare personal monographs.
Pathophysiology II
25 Hours
In-depth review of more challenging imbalances in the human physiology from an herbalist’s perspective. Lectures will explore disease states within the context of the health of the whole being. Focus will be on conditions ranging from cancer, gynecological health, autoimmune disease, diabetes, and other specific chronic conditions and how to recognize when referral is necessary. Particular emphasis will be placed on balancing a modern biochemical understanding of pathology (microscopic – tissue level and macroscopic – organ level) with more traditional perspectives (energetics and traditional tissue states).
Skills for Complementary Professionals
in the Western Medical Paradigm
30 Hours
Introduction to some basic diagnostic tools used by the Western medical system: lab results, imaging, histology. Students will practice reviewing and understanding the information many clients bring with them to consultations, and learn how to effectively and confidentially communicate with conventional practitioners. The course will familiarize students with the purpose of tools such as the stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, glucometer, and urine dips.
Supervised Clinical Practicum
170 Hours
The opportunity for students to gain practical clinical experience. Clinical hours will always be supervised by a faculty member, and students will work in teams of two at the student clinic at VCIH or at other clinical venues offered in the Burlington, VT area or at Goddard College in Plainfield, VT. Students are expected to fully staff off-site clinics where clients will be scheduled for them. Students are expected to recruit their own clients for the student clinic at VCIH which takes place weekly at the school. Students may also complete a percentage of their hours through filling peers’ formulas in the apothecary during clinic time.

Year 3 Reading List (pdf)

“I’m so thankful to Larken, Betzy and Guido for forming an herb school that includes real clinical practice. Their collaboration in the People’s Health and Wellness Clinic, prior to founding VCIH, has shaped a training program which greatly exceeds expectations. They have trained us in every possible clinical scenario we could encounter as practicing herbalists.” – Heather Irvine, Clinical Herbalist student