Getting a professional herbal education can be hard work. I should know. I've been working on piecing one together for the last 10 years! My formal educational adventures have led me to all sorts of interesting courses, from the East West School of Herbology correspondence course to (most recently) the Herbal Medic Basic online class with Sam Coffman at The Human Path. In addition to the classes I've taken and lectures I've attended, I have an extensive herbal library at home to attest to my voracious appetite for all things intellectually herbal.
So let me be the first one to tell you that a good herbal education is a process, but there are now MUCH easier ways to go about obtaining one than I did.
Unless you could afford to travel to conferences and workshops (I wasn't so fortunate), books were the most affordable option to introduce yourself to a wide variety of perspectives and herbal information.
Fast forward many years later. As you may know, I work with the Herbal Academy. I fell in love with their gorgeous, modern approach to herbal education- and I'm willing to bet you will, too, if you go take a look!
After I discovered their courses and blog last year and couldn't get enough of them, I saw a post on their Facebook page back in January that they were looking to expand their writing team, so I applied.
I’m now an Associate Educator there (and an affiliate), and among other things I help out with the Facebook page, the Intermediate Course Forums, (I love chatting with students in the forums, answering questions, and seeing all of the really awesome ideas you guys come up with!), help craft the email newsletters that may be landing in your inbox, and usually write a weekly post for the Academy blog. It's an herbal dream job that keeps me actively learning and in touch with what's happening in the big, wide world of herbalism. I'm in awe that it's so easy to be in touch with other herbalists from around the globe. Talk about the free exchange of ideas- it's a Renaissance out there!
I also help research and write lessons for some of the new courses. Recently, I've worked on the Advanced Herbal Course and the Entrepreneur Herbal Course. So I get some sneak peeks into what's going on, and let me say that it's awesome.
If you are looking for an affordable way to get a professional herbal education, you NEED to go take a look at their course offerings. Trust me, as someone who has been studying herbalism and taking courses and classes for the last 10 yrs, there are several reasons their courses stand out from the pack:
- For one thing, an Academy education is collaborative. Many different herbalists have come together to offer their expertise, so you benefit from hearing many different voices and learning from multiple perspectives. . . in one place. Herb schools built around a single herbalist's teachings can be great, but in most cases that does limit your exposure to that particular herbalist's perspectives, experiences, and opinions. The more exposure you have to different ways of being an herbalist, the quicker you will be able to find your own unique path!
- For another, each lesson is carefully researched and backed up with references. There are even further reading suggestions and other resources to check out. I love the many courses I’ve taken over the years, and it’s great that so many courses are built around the founding herbalist’s personal experience and expertise. But sometimes I really just want to know where my teacher learned something, and where I can go to learn more!
- The Academy provides references with each lesson, even in the Introductory course, and then goes on to add extra resources like pdf downloads of charts, flip books, study guides, and other great lesson supplements.
- Also, the courses are exquisitely designed and extremely well-organized. I’m a big fan of all of the professionalism behind their courses. They are self-paced within a designated time frame that helps keep you on track, and you can contact an instructor anytime you have a question. Recordings are professional quality, lessons are typo-free and well proofed, graphics are gorgeous and informative. . . you get the point.
- As if that wasn't enough, you can choose from the path that best fits your goals or vision. Just getting your feet wet? The introductory course is almost ridiculously affordable and will give you a solid foundation. Looking to fill in some gaps or bring together years of self-guided study into something more formal? Intermediate sounds about right. And if you're really ambitious, and want to challenge yourself to grow to a professional level, well. . . that's what the Advanced track is all about.
- But you have even more choices than that, because you can bundle the courses together and create your own custom track. There's even an offshoot course if you want to be an herbal entrepreneur but need help understanding all of the regulatory requirements on labeling, Good Manufacturing Practices, and product claims.
Basically, The Academy writes the kind of courses that I wish had been available when I was first starting out. It's an herb school I am thrilled to be working with and delighted to be able to support as an affiliate. I highly recommend them!
And hey, now they have bundled some of the courses together to create different tracks that allow you to enroll at special pricing, so if you've been sitting on the fence about enrolling now is a great time to take advantage of a discount (you can use what you saved to buy more herbal goodies and supplies, right?!). Plus, they have new payment plans that make the courses easier to add to your budget than ever.
So what are you waiting for? Go check it out!