Training Programs Overview

Updates for 2023!

Our application deadline for the 2023 Family and Clinical Herbalist Training programs is August 15, 2022 extended until August 19, 2022!

The deadline for applications to the 2023 Herbal Roots Apprenticeship is February 1, 2023.

As of August 2022, we have updated our Family and Clinical program structure and delivery format for the foreseeable future, beginning with our 2023 cohorts. We have extended our application deadline to give folks time to apply with this new format in place. Please read on for more information about the recent changes.

The overview is that we are committing to a low-residency format which students can now attend completely remotely, if desired. Students will no longer be required to live locally or to travel to Vermont for intensives, as they have in the past. The program will be delivered online, in a synchronous format, meaning students attend weekly live classes on a schedule; it is not self-paced.*

There will be on-site learning opportunities for students who are able to travel and desire the in-person experience, offered via three, 6-day intensive sessions each year in Vermont. These sessions will make up approximately 25% of overall program delivery. Intensives will be offered in a hybrid format, combining virtual and in-person students in synchronous learning. Again, in-person time is optional, though everyone must attend the intensives, whether virtually or in Vermont.

The overall curricula and requirements of our programs remain the same, though of course we continue to improve and evolve our content each year.

This new format is intended to expand the reach of our programs, bringing our relational, integrative and liberatory approach to herbal medicine to more people, as students will be able to grow their skills and deepen their practices within their own communities, while connected to a tight-knit cohort of students and faculty. We also hope to increase access to our programs for folks historically and currently marginalized in many herbal education settings, e.g. BIPOC students; those who are disabled, immunocompromised or chronically ill; folks who lack financial resources to move or travel; and/or students who have learning styles better served by a virtual or remote format.

We continue to be committed to teaching and learning through building reciprocal relationships with each other, the plants and the land. Despite our own trepidation, through the crucible of the pandemic, we’ve come to appreciate the depth and quality of connection that can be achieved in virtual learning spaces. Whether online or in-person, we’re invested in continuing to create a rigorous, transformative and joyful learning environment for all of us.

We strongly urge all applicants to read our FAQ page, in addition to thoroughly reviewing the information below.

*Due to the hands-on and outdoor focus of Herbal Roots, students in this program should still plan to live within reasonable commuting distance in order to attend weekly in-person classes; there will not be a distance learning option for Roots. 

 

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Rooted in values of mutual aid, sustainability and justice, we believe that herbal medicine should be accessible, bioregional and liberatory. Our training programs are dedicated to exploring how best to realize this vision and we are honored and inspired by the investment and commitment that each of our students bring to our learning community.

Our students engage in our mission through their work in our gardens, lab, apothecary and/or clinic. This integrated model allows us to make herbal medicine more accessible to our local community, while offering students hands-on experience with a model of care that we hope they will replicate and expand upon in their own communities and beyond.

In addition to a deep love for plants and herbalism, our faculty and students are dedicated to working towards justice and liberation for all. Each of us commit to continued self-reflection, education, action and accountability while we cultivate a relational culture devoted to solidarity and mutual welcome. We strive to create a classroom environment that is trauma sensitive and actively anti-oppressive, while acknowledging that we are always (and will always be) learning and growing in this work.

We invite you to apply if you’re excited by our commitment to social and ecological justice and are eager to explore the impacts of colonization and other systems of oppression (e.g. racism, sexism, ableism, extractive capitalism) on health and illness. Join us, too, if you’re interested in the ways in which Eurocentric / “Western” herbal medicine and herbalists can (and must) uproot these same systems within our studies and practices.

We look forward to connecting with you and hearing how we can support you on your herbal medicine journey.

Summary of Program Offerings

VCIH offers learning opportunities for students at every stage of herbal education. There are four years of training available, serving students just beginning their herbal journey, as well as those with considerable experience. We offer our 1-year Family Herbalist and 3-year Clinical Herbalist programs, as well as an 8-month program, Herbal Roots Apprenticeship.

With the addition of the Herbal Roots program in 2015, we increased the rigor of our Family Herbalist program, making it more appropriate for intermediate students with some prior experience or training. The Family Herbalist program continues to serve as the first year of the Clinical Herbalist program for those interested in pursuing more advanced studies and a career in herbal medicine. The curriculum in each of the four years is designed to build on the material in the previous year(s), while also standing independently, allowing students to engage at the level that meets their goals and experience.

Herbal Roots apprenticeship: 7 months (beginner)

Herbal Roots provides a thorough introduction to folk herbalism, focusing especially on plant cultivation and harvest, medicine-making and herbal self-care.

Family Herbalist training program: 1 year  (intermediate)

The Family Herbalist offers a solid foundation in responsible and effective community care,  preparing students to be key wellness resources, connected to local ecosystems and aid networks.

Clinical Herbalist training program: 3 years (intermediate – advanced)

Our clinical program integrates the diverse arts and sciences related to herbal medicine, offering one of the most intensive professional training opportunities in the country. Students have the opportunity to provide an important wellness resource for our rural community, while also honing visions and skills for their own future work.

Prerequisite Study: Entry into the Family or Clinical Herbalist programs requires students to have some foundational experience or training, which can be satisfied through the Herbal Roots apprenticeship or a variety of similar programs in Vermont and beyond. Students who have documented prior training, experience or self-study may also apply for advanced placement into the second year of the Clinical Herbalist program, though open spaces are extremely limited. Student progression from year to year (or entry via advanced standing) is not assumed and is based on the demonstrated commitment and skill of each student.

Location: Family and Clinical Herbalist programs are offered online, via Zoom. Three 6-day intensives are offered in a hybrid format each year; students who are able to travel attend in-person in Plainfield, Vermont, while others attend virtually via Zoom (intensives occur in February, May/June, and August/September; dates differ for each program).

Herbal Roots apprenticeship takes place at VCIH, located on the beautiful Goddard College campus in Plainfield, Vermont. Most classes are held outside under our large classroom tent, as well as in the gardens and greenhouse.

Schedule: In general, classes for the Family and Clinical Herbalist programs run on the calendar year, beginning mid-February and ending mid-December.  There are 2 weeks off in May, 2 – 3 weeks off in August (depending on the program), and a week off at Thanksgiving. While this is the general schedule students can expect, we set our exact start/end dates and break weeks for the next year in October. Applicants will be given exact dates with acceptance, allowing plenty of time for travel planning, if applicable.

The Family Herbalist program (aka the first year of the Clinical program) runs from 9-5 on Wednesdays; the second year of the Clinical program is offered from 9-5:30 on Thursdays and 9-5 on Fridays (with some clinical observation work at other times). The third year is held from 1-8 on Mondays and 9-6 on Tuesdays (with occasional clinical internship opportunities offered at other times).

Classes for the Herbal Roots apprenticeship begin in April and end in November each year. Generally, classes are held from 9-5 on Mondays.

Herbal Roots apprenticeship program—210 hours over 7 months

A stand-alone program for the beginning herbal student, this true apprenticeship-style year emphasizes hands-on, embodied learning and is ideal for those who are new to herbs, but keen to make them part of their daily lives. This course provides a thorough understanding of using herbs for self-care. During the Summer months, students spend half of each day with their hands in the dirt, learning to grow and harvest common herbs. The remainder of the day is spent preparing remedies and learning to use herbs to maintain health, as well as address common complaints safely and effectively. Additional topics include an introduction to the rich history of herbal medicine, fundamental energetic concepts, the science of nature, and basic physiology of body systems.

Students can choose to attend the program as a stand alone course, taking home a full kit of remedies, a strong skill set for self-care and a certificate of completion. The Herbal Roots Apprenticeship program meets on Mondays from 9am-5pm. Learn more

Faculty: Joann Darling and Netta Mae Walsh, with guest teaching from Betzy Bancroft

Family Herbalist training program—308 hours over 1 year

This program is geared for intermediate students who are interested in moving beyond self-care in order to serve their friends and families with their knowledge. Participation in the Herbal Roots apprenticeship or a similar foundational program is a prerequisite for joining this program. Building on the foundation of the Herbal Roots apprenticeship, the Family Herbalist delves more deeply into the sciences and arts of herbal medicine to better understand world energetic systems, botany, plant chemistry and human physiology. Students also spend time outdoors, visiting diverse Vermont ecosystems, working in the gardens, and preparing herbal products to be used in VCIH’s clinic. By the end of the year, students will have a solid foundation in herbalism, both theoretical and practical, while being prepared to confidently address common conditions of friends and family responsibly and safely.

Students completing this program receive a certificate of completion as a Family Herbalist and can choose to apply to continue with the second and third years of the Clinical Herbalist program if they desire. The Family Herbalist Training program meets on Wednesdays from 9am-5pm. Learn more

Core faculty: Betzy Bancroft, Kristen Henningsen; adjunct faculty: Larken Bunce, Linden de Voil, Netta Mae Walsh

Clinical Herbalist training program—1356 hours over 3 years

This comprehensive 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. Students with prior documented experience can apply to be considered for advanced standing into the second year, though space is very limited (see the Admissions process for more information). 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.

Students completing this program receive a certificate of completion as a Clinical Herbalist. The second year of the Clinical Herbalist Training program meets on Thursdays and Fridays from 9am-5:30pm, plus 6 single weekend days. The third year meets on Mondays from 1pm-8pm and Tuesdays from 9am-6pm.

Year 1 — This year is a combination of hands-on skill development and didactic time in the classroom, providing more complex medicine-making skills, introductory coverage of phytochemistry and pharmacology, holistic physiology, in-depth coverage of materia medica, and therapeutic approaches to common system dysfunctions. Learn more

Year 2 — This year will focus on understanding more complex system dysfunctions (both energetically and physiologically) as well as the social and ecological determinants of health, intermediate coverage of phytochemistry and pharmacology, developing critical thinking and clinical strategies, and grounding in the logistical and relational skills of a practitioner. Learn more

Year 3 — This year brings the learning from the first two years to the clinical relationship. In addition to continued study of complex health conditions and materia medica, the student will see clients under supervision in the community clinics, while also developing a business plan for their future work as an herbalist, and practice sharing their knowledge through community teaching. Learn  more

Core faculty: Betzy Bancroft, Larken Bunce, Kristin Henningsen; Adjunct faculty: Stephanie Boucher, Linden de Voil, Julie Mitchell, Netta Mae Walsh