Monday, April 9, 2012

Studying to become a naturopath...

Studying natural health has always been a goal of mine, after a lifetime of allergies, intolerances, IBS, coeliac disease and other health issues that seemed to defy conventional medicine.  Add my two little people, one with a severe vaccine reaction, allergies & eczema; the other born with an immune deficiency and none-specific growth delays; you have a recipe for a naturopath with tons of first-hand experience!
2011 was a huge year and a great leap towards my goal.  This mum, with 2 kids under 5 and a husband that works overseas, decided to go back to uni and study a BA Health Science in Naturopathy. Not only did I go back to uni, I luckily received a scholarship - how thrilled was I!   Only catch….I had to study full-time…argh!

So after some thought, a little foot tapping and a few sleepless nights I decided to accept the scholarship and give it a go. “What the heck” I thought…I have two kids that sleep poorly, haven’t clocked up a full 8 hours sleep in 5 years, but yeah, I can study full time ;)

Fast-forward to 2012 – I completed my first year studying natural health, scoring mostly D’s and HD’s (very pleased with that) and have 10 out of 36 subjects under my belt.  Problem was, going back to uni this year, the timetable really wasn’t made for a mum in my situation.  Lots of 3pm & 6pm lectures (nope, can’t do that), a few 8.30am lectures (nope, can’t do that either) and here I was…unable to attend any of my classes with any sort of regularity.  Not happy!!!!

The Gold Coast is not an easy place to study natural medicine.  There is only one uni that offers the BA in Natural Health Science I want to study – where I studied last year, Endeavour, but can’t make the lecture times this semester.  Local uni’s like Griffith (where I did my Business Degree)  & Bond don’t offer natural health degrees yet, and the local TAFE that used to offer Adv. Diplomas in Naturopathy no longer does (I thought I was studying a growth industry? Go figure….).

That left me with only distance study options that frankly I wasn’t keen to pursue.  However, with no other option, I researched the available courses and decided to give the AIAS a try.  At this point I have 6 AIAS subjects to complete, have just finished one, and am finding the motivation hard.   I miss the interactive class environment and really don’t think the education is as good when you’re teaching yourself from a workbook.  Plus, being an Advanced Diploma, I’m finding the content below my abilities and frankly, I’m bored.

For those of you looking to study natural health too, let’s quickly talk the pro’s & con’s of AIAS…
Pro’s of AIAS
  • cost – the subjects are about half the price of Endeavour, plus they include all set textbooks, saving me $500+ a semester. Nice!
  • content – the Advanced Diploma Naturopathy includes Iridology and Flower Essences, where Endeavour no longer does, you can choose either Homeopathic or Massage streams
  • less stress – the subjects are self-paced & you have up to 9 months to complete them.  The schedule at Endeavour was intense and I actually came close to a break-down back in November, from the pressure.
Con’s of AIAS
  • inconsistencies – there are many errors in the workbooks, inconsistent information from admin staff, difficulty accessing help & support…the list goes on.  However for me, the frustration is definitely offset by the cost savings ;) plus AIAS seem to be working hard to fix the issues.
  • exam co-ordinators – it’s hard to find someone to sit your exams with. It has to be someone you aren’t good friends with (so you can’t cheat) but that you know well enough to feel comfortable asking to oversee your 3hour exams…huh????  oxymoron…
  • support – it is a VERY lonely way to study and I wouldn’t recommend it.  However AIAS is launching an online version of study, so hopefully that will overcome some of the loneliness & lack of information issues.
Overall, looking at $$$ alone, my degree at Endeavour is about $50k (my scholarship was only for the first year), but the Adv Dip at AIAS is about $25k. Half the price, can’t be overlooked….so what does it mean for my study????

Overall, the cost saving, lack of interaction with other students and easier level of content are not big enough ++++ for me, so next semester I plan to continue studying natural health back at Endeavour.  Although it will take me a number of years to complete in a piece-meal,  part-time fashion, it’s back to Endeavour I go…one subject by measly subject at a!

As the ultimate goal for me is to become a top quality natural health practitioner, I feel the only place that can offer me that is on-campus at Endeavour.  So I'm doing a little of both courses & hoping to finish them day!!!

Cheers, Cass x


Kira said...

Thank you for this post. I have been looking at study options for Naturopathy/Nutrition and the AIAS is significantly cheaper than all other options. It was for this reason I was going to go with them but now I will continue to look at the other courses available. Thanks again.

Aslay Sin said...

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Bren Murphy said...

Great post and congratulations on your scholarship! Be great to hear how you are progressing!
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