The truth passes through three stages before it is recognized. In the first, it is ridiculed. In the second, it is opposed. In the third, it is regarded as self-evident. —Arthur Schopenhauer

People often have concerns about accreditation and wonder how they can find an accredited school with with to study clinical herbalism, traditional naturopathy, or holistic nutrition so they can become legitimately certified to practice.

It is interesting to note that the public is generally unfamiliar with the subtleties of accreditation, certification, and licensing, especially as it relates to holistic medicine practitioners and alternative educators, like Rockwell.

Accreditation is truly the crux of contention in the world of herbal studies and natural health. We know everyone wants the most credible education they can get.

As a potential student, it can take time and effort to unravel these concerns, so we do our best to explain these matters thoroughly. We truly pride ourselves on unparalleled transparency for schools of this class and type. So let’s get to it!

Breaking Down Conventional Accreditation…

Prospective students should know that in the United States, there are two mainstream types of accreditation that are legitimately sanctioned and approved by the US Department of Education, which include specialized or programic, which is further broken down into national, regional, and sometimes religious. You can read more about those here.

Generally speaking, accreditation allows conventional, or more mainstream colleges, to qualify for state and federal funding which help to keep their school running.

Additionally, because higher education can be so darn expensive, the accreditation stamp of approval also allows a school’s students to apply for financial aid through the FAFSA, aka the Federal Application for Student Aid. 

This type of accreditation guarantees educational requirements are met for the types of professions which require licensing, such as lawyers and medical doctors —and helps assure that certain general credits are transferable between colleges.

However, what few people don’t realize is that aromatherapy, iridology, traditional naturopathy, and clinical herbalism are all unregulated professions within an unregulated industry —and therefore, do not require licensing.

For this very reason, schools who offer educations within these career field parameters do not qualify for conventional accreditation as approved by the US Department of Education, nor do their students qualify for federal student aid.

This leaves one last form of accreditation which is completely unregulated and unsanctioned by the US Department of Education. 

Professional Accreditation

Because they don’t qualify for conventional, mainstream accreditation, it is interesting to note that many alternative natural health schools commonly utilize what is known as ‘professional’ accreditation. This is done primarily to appear more credible, which procures more students and secures more profits.

So for starters, any accreditations you see attached to an alternative educator, like the ones below, are professional in nature only and not approved by the US Department of Education.

The major issue with this is that these schools rarely explain the difference, leaving students confused in the process —many of whom mistakenly assume the professional accreditation is sanctioned and approved by the US Dept of Education, when, in actuality, it’s not.

Additionally, professional accreditation has a lot of detractors and controversy scholastically speaking, as you can read more about here and here.

Please keep in mind that we have nothing against these organizations that offer professional accreditation, some of which offer non-regulated, industry ‘certification’ in our field.

However, due to the public stigma and some other issues, we just don’t participate in professional accreditation. One such concern is credibility of the accreditor.

Conventional accreditors go through a lengthy process where they have to cross all their t’s and dot all their i’s so to speak —whereas professional accreditors can be anyone who sees a business opportunity.

The one time when we inquired about it through some professional accreditors, rather than ask to verify our program specifics, we were simply asked to send a fee.

It seemed too easy to us, like pay to play, and left us with some discerning questions, such as, how useful, reliable, and authentic is professional accreditation, etc.

However, if you dig around, you will discover that the more grass-roots herbal medicine schools, like Rockwell choose not to participate.

You can see this through course offerings by Susun Weed at her Wise Woman University. She is a world renown, pioneering herbalist herself and her school is proudly unaccredited, we might add. 

Additionally, Susun is flat out against licensing herbalists, and here’s why.

This is just one of many examples of herbal schools who do not participate in pay to play accreditation.

We believe that by participating in ‘professional’ accreditation, it perpetuates the myth that alternative educators should try to compete on the same playing field with mainstream, conventional colleges. 

That being said, and as a well-established school, we stand with our herbal educator allies and choose not to be listed with these organizations. 

Until holistic medicine becomes a regulated industry and a system is in place to offer licensing to holistic medicine practitioners, Rockwell will operate as an independent holistic medicine school. 

By declining to participate in professional accreditation, Rockwell is able to avoid the controversies of professional accreditation as shown through the links above.

The truth is, when it comes to the study of holistic medicine, one’s educational choices are paramount and should be based on quality and affordability vs. claims of “professional accreditation”.

Lastly, some of the same agencies who offer professional accreditation also offer board certification.

Any such agencies still offer our students board certification, which is an entirely different thing than professional accreditation —even though we choose not to participate in professional accreditation for the aforementioned reasons.   

Rockwell has built a team of dedicated program directors to bring our students the best holistic medicine school in the world and we hope you will see that reflected in the quality and diversity of our program offerings! 

Back to the FAQ