Is there any merit for alternative medicine

Heilpraktiker - salary & earnings

The following is an overview of the salary as a non-medical practitioner in the profession, at the beginning and in the course of the career, the various collective agreements, differences between federal states, as well as further training opportunities.

There are currently around 33,000 practicing alternative practitioners in Germany, and the trend is rising! And not without reason, because the profession of alternative practitioner enjoys great popularity and is needed more than ever. Naturopaths are experts in the field of naturopathy and pursue a holistic approach: the human being with body, mind and soul is viewed as an overall system. For many people, the profession of alternative practitioner is a dream job that is primarily about helping people. But what about the earning potential of a naturopath: Is the comparatively expensive training to become an expert in the field of naturopathy worthwhile?

Alternative practitioner - salary in training

In the training to become naturopaths, prospective graduates acquire extensive knowledge in the fields of clinical medicine, pathology, anatomy, pathology, pharmacology and physiology. There is currently no state-required training to become an alternative practitioner. However, there is by no means a lack of opportunities to complete the training. In order to be able to participate in such a course, however, those interested must meet certain requirements. Depending on the provider, at least a secondary school leaving certificate, a certificate of good conduct, a medical health certificate, a certain minimum age and completed vocational training must be proven. There are currently over 500 alternative practitioner schools in Germany, which offer different types of courses such as intensive full-time training, distance learning or a part-time course that accompanies work. The duration of the training depends largely on the form in which it is completed. Training at a distance learning school usually lasts between 12 and 30 months. On the other hand, presence providers carry out the alternative practitioner training in 4 to 16 months. Regardless of the form in which the training to become an alternative practitioner is completed - it is not remunerated. Rather, prospective naturopaths must even expect costs of between EUR 2,000 and EUR 11,000 for specialist literature and work equipment, as well as examination and course fees, to be incurred. In order to be allowed to work as a non-medical practitioner in Germany, a state examination must be passed at the responsible health department. Both the written and the oral part of the exam must be passed.

Alternative practitioner - starting salary after training

The average salary of an alternative practitioner at the start of their career is around 2,580 euros per month. After a few years of professional experience, the salary of alternative practitioners is around 3,000 euros gross per month.

After successfully completing training and passing the examination and thus receiving approval, trained alternative practitioners are allowed to work with other alternative practitioners in various facilities such as clinics, health centers, physiotherapy practices as well as rehabilitation centers and other healing practices. However, you are also entitled to open your own practice and become self-employed.

The career opportunities after the apprenticeship also look very good, because alternative practitioners are enjoying increasing popularity and are more in demand than ever. More and more people are looking for an alternative practitioner to get rid of their ailments, because alternative therapy methods are currently not only trendy, the holistic approach of alternative practitioners also seems promising for many affected. Around 60 percent of Germans state that they have already been to an alternative practitioner at least once.

The starting salary, however, can vary greatly, as naturopaths generally set up their own practice after completing their training. The salary is accordingly heavily dependent on the respective customer base, the size of the practice, the state and the city, as well as the type of billing. As a rule, there are additional costs at the beginning of self-employment, such as for the practice equipment.

Non-medical practitioners - salary by type of facility

As in most professional fields, the salary of a naturopath also depends heavily on the federal state in which you have settled, how much professional experience you have, whether you work full-time or part-time, or how broad the customer base is. Above all, however, it plays a decisive role whether an alternative practitioner is employed or does his or her profession on an independent basis. Because although most alternative practitioners dare to take the step into self-employment after successfully completing their exams, which is not only associated with sufficient patience to build up a customer base and costs for the practice equipment, the employment relationship is a sensible alternative, especially at the beginning of the activity to gain work experience. Trained alternative practitioners can find employment in group practices, clinics, health centers, physiotherapy practices and rehabilitation centers. However, it is difficult to generalize the salary of an alternative practitioner in an employment relationship, but above all in self-employment. Because while most occupations in medicine and nursing in the public service are remunerated according to collective agreements such as the collective agreement for the public service (TVöD) or even the employment contract guidelines (AVR), alternative practitioners who are employed are mostly employed in private institutions and are therefore not subject to collective bargaining agreements hardened and tempered. The salary can accordingly be set individually.

Salary in the employment relationship

Naturopaths with a permanent position are a little rarer, because in most cases trained naturopaths set up their own practice. However, there is also the possibility of becoming an employee. In this way, trained alternative practitioners can work together with other alternative practitioners in group practices. Especially at the beginning of the activity as a naturopath, this is often a real alternative to self-employment, because a lot of experience can be gained in this way. However, in the case of employment, it does not necessarily have to be from another alternative practitioner. It is also possible to work within a physiotherapy facility. More and more often, doctors are also receiving support from alternative practitioners in their practices, as well as in health and rehabilitation centers. The salary of a non-medical practitioner as an employee can vary widely. Depending on factors such as professional experience, the size of the company and the state, the salary can be between 3,000 euros and 1,000 euros. On average, however, the monthly salary of a non-medical practitioner as an employee is around 2,200 euros.

Salary for self-employment

Self-employment brings many opportunities, but it also entails a high level of risk. As a rule, work and family can be easily reconciled with self-employment. Because if you are your own boss, you have the opportunity to set customer appointments at will. On the other hand, the earnings of an independent alternative practitioner largely depend on how large their customer base is, how many treatments are carried out and how often individual patients appear at the practice. The salary in self-employment can therefore vary greatly, because initially it will take some time to gain a foothold in self-employment and to build up a certain customer base. Furthermore, independent, established alternative practitioners can determine their own salary according to the Income Tax Act. However, it is possible to orientate yourself on the fee schedule for alternative practitioners. Because the costs for the treatment in a naturopathic practice are only covered by the statutory health insurances in a few exceptional cases. In most cases, patients with statutory health insurance have to pay for their treatment out of their own pocket. On average, however, alternative practitioners have an hourly wage of around 40 euros. Here, too, the principle applies above all: whoever works more earns more! The monthly salary range of an independent naturopath can be between 1,500 and 5,000 euros.

Heilpraktiker - salary according to federal states

It is also easy to see from the job description of the alternative practitioner that the income in the various federal states of Germany still differs significantly around 40 years after the fall of the Wall. Employees in eastern Germany still earn around 23.3 percent less than their colleagues with the same qualifications in western Germany. The comparison between North Rhine-Westphalia and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Saxony particularly reveals how big the gaps between the individual federal states are. While North Rhine-Westphalia is the most attractive salary location for alternative practitioners in Germany with 2,925 euros, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Saxony bring up the rear with just 1,991 euros per month. Employees with the same qualifications earn just over 1,000 euros more gross in North Rhine-Westphalia than in Saxony and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Baden-Württemberg with 2,832 euros, as well as Berlin, Hesse and Lower Saxony are attractive federal states with around 2,700 euros when it comes to the monthly income of a naturopath. After all, they earn around 200 euros more than the national average, which is 2,580 euros. But the prognoses are good: The wage gap between the old and new federal states is getting smaller and smaller. While the discrepancy between East and West Germany was around 25 percent in 2017, it fell to 23.9 percent in 2019. However, if one compares the salaries of the different regions of Germany, the cost of living at the respective locations must also be taken into account, which, like the salaries, differ greatly from one another.

The diagram shows the median (mean monthly gross wage) of the respective federal states, as well as the Germany-wide mean.

* Missing values: Other federal states cannot be shown because the number of employees is too low and therefore insufficiently meaningful.

Source: Federal Employment Agency - Pay Atlas

In these cities you earn particularly well

In addition to the respective federal state and the gap between the old and new federal states, the city in which an alternative practitioner settles also plays a decisive role in his earnings. If one compares the salaries between rural regions and the metropolises of Germany, one quickly comes to the conclusion that the highest salaries tend to be paid in large cities. This can also be clearly seen in the average monthly earnings of an alternative practitioner. The experts in the field of naturopathy in Frankfurt am Main earn the most with an average of 3,303 euros. Munich is also an attractive location when it comes to the monthly salary of a naturopath. You earn around 3,254 euros in the capital of Bavaria. At the bottom of the list is the capital of the federal state of Saxony in the east. Naturopaths in Dresden earn an average of 2,232 euros a month and thus almost 770 euros less than their colleagues in Frankfurt am Main.


Naturopaths - salary by age and gender

For the salary of an alternative practitioner, it is not only decisive whether he is employed or freelance. The region of Germany in which the branch is located also makes a significant contribution to the amount of the salary. Furthermore, the age and thus the professional experience in the field of naturopathy also play a decisive role when it comes to the monthly income. Because the more experience an alternative practitioner has, the greater the patient's trust in him. With increasing experience, the fee can be increased and / or the customer base can be expanded. In most cases, with increasing professional experience, you can assume a higher monthly income. Because while a non-medical practitioner under 25 has an average of 2,181 euros at the end of the month, their colleagues over 55 receive a total of 3,085 euros per month. So they earn an average of 900 euros more. But not only the age of a naturopath and the professional experience that goes with it are decisive factors for the monthly income, gender still plays a decisive role as well. For example, alternative practitioners with an average monthly salary of 2,496 euros earn almost 250 euros less than their male colleagues with an average salary of 2,761 euros.

The table provides an overview of the salaries according to gender and age, as well as the overall mean values ​​of the respective categories.

Age categoryFemalemaletotal
<25 yearsno data*no data*2.181 €
25 - 54 years2.446 €2.635 €2.500 €
55+ years2.947 €3.265 €3.085 €
total2.496 €2.761 €2.580 €

* no data: these categories cannot be displayed. The number of employees is not high enough to represent meaningful values.

Source: Federal Employment Agency - Pay Atlas

Heilpraktiker - Merit in comparison with other professions

Alternative healing methods are enjoying increasing popularity and are receiving more and more social, but also scientific and medical recognition. You don't always have to resort to chemical preparations straight away if your health doesn't play a role. This means that vacant jobs in this occupational field are likely to remain constant in the future, if not even increase. For many, the profession of alternative practitioner is an absolute dream job, because mostly it is not just a profession, but a calling. In addition, the amount of the remuneration can be freely determined and therapeutic services are also exempt from sales tax. Compared to other medical training professions, however, alternative practitioners only come off mediocre. While they have an average monthly income of around 2,580 euros, the physically demanding job of physiotherapist with an average monthly income of 2,513 euros is just below that of alternative practitioner. Podiatrists, for example, earn significantly less with only 1,924 euros. Other activities such as the profession of geriatric nurse as well as a job as a health care worker or, on the other hand, are remunerated far better.

jobGross salary
Pharmacist4.388 €
Specialized nurse in the operating room3.978 €
Health and nurse3.547 €
Geriatric nurse3.032 €
Alternative practitioner2.580 €
Child care assistant2.531 €
Physiotherapist2.513 €
Podiatrist1.924 €

Source: Federal Employment Agency - Pay Atlas

More salary through further training

After the course to become a non-medical practitioner, there is still a long way to go, because there are also numerous opportunities for further training. Alternative practitioners have numerous career options open to them even after completing their training. The professional field of the naturopath leaves a lot of room for specializations - whether psychotherapy, chiropractic or acupuncture. In addition, specialist training can contribute to significantly higher earnings, as it significantly expands the service portfolio of the alternative practitioner. According to the BOH (professional code of conduct for alternative practitioners), they are even obliged to continuously train themselves in order to keep their professional qualifications up to date. Further training or regular self-study about the progress in medicine, in particular about newly acquired knowledge of the benefits and risks of the healing methods used, are therefore recommended. If alternative practitioners have a university entrance qualification or another equivalent qualification, they can also study in areas such as complementary medicine.

Professional training

Naturopaths can consolidate their reputation as specialists and boost their careers by specializing in a field through intensive further training. Here there is the possibility of attending various training courses in areas such as herbal medicine, phytotherapy or Bach flower therapy. Additional training in the field of homeopathy, traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, hypnosis or Schüßler therapy can also be sought, thus adding a lot to the offer of a practicing alternative practitioner and increasing the salary.


Another possibility to climb the career ladder after completing the alternative practitioner training is to study. If you have your high school diploma or have a university entrance qualification, then after acquiring the alternative practitioner, the study of complementary medicine is particularly recommended. Here, students mainly learn the basics of naturopathy such as homeopathy and acupuncture. The basic knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathology are also dealt with in the 6-8 semester long course.

Find vacancies as an alternative practitioner

Anyone looking for new professional challenges will find numerous, attractive job offers as non-medical practitioners all over Germany at Medi-Karriere!