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What It Takes to Land a New Age Career, From Yogi to Shaman

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2014 was a weird year for wellness fads, thanks to charcoal, juice wars, and an influx of animal-fat beauty products. It was stressful—so stressful, in fact, that maybe it's time to pick one path and just stick to it. In the name of making great-but-potentially-risky career changes this year, we rounded up everything you need to know before embarking on your new, New Age profession. From reiki healing to colon hydrotherapy and shamanism, here's how much training you'll need, and what it'll all cost you.

Yoga Instructor

To get the best chance at employment after training, aim for a Registered Yoga Teacher certification. According to Yoga Alliance, a globally recognized accrediting body for certified yoga teachers, credentialing standards are set at 200 hours for a regular RYT certification and 500 hours for an advanced RYT certification. At YogaFit, the self-proclaimed largest yoga fitness education school in the world, the 200-hour RYT program costs around $4,500 and usually takes about one year to complete. At Sonic Yoga, a school based out of New York City, the 200-hour RYT program costs up to $3,200 and lasts from four weeks to four months, depending on the intensity of the program.

Once you've got the 200-hour RYT certification, pay varies pretty widely depending on how you choose to teach. A YogaFit representative told Racked that the typical salary for a yoga teacher is influenced by the region and how big the demand is for a yoga teacher in your area (not to mention the amount of effort you're willing to put into building a client base). The average pay ranges from $20 to $60 per class and $100 per class for a one-on-one session with a client. To be on the safe side, two $40 classes per day for five days a week averages out to $400 per week. That translates into just over $20,000, if you work every single week of the year.

Should I quit my day job: Unless you're the most motivated young yoga teacher in the country, nah, better not.


Photo: hjschneider/Shutterstock

Crystal Healer

A Certified Crystal Healer means very different things in different corners of the internet. There's no real governing body here, so you'll get a wide, sometimes dubious range of teachers and programs. At the Hibiscus Moon Crystal Academy, the Crystal Healer Certification program runs for 9 weeks on average and costs $1,497 paid out in installments every 30 days—no refunds allowed. At the Love & Light School of Energy Medicine, the certification program costs $695 and includes 11 courses for 26 credit hours. Upon completion, students from both programs receive a certain amount of continuing education hours from the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork, but that's about as legit as it gets.

There's no real industry average for what crystal healers make, but private healing arts practices like Rainbows of Healing in Langhorne, Pennsylvania charge $85 per session. In Madison, Wisconsin, where the Love & Light School is based, most healers charge between $50 to $60 per hour. The school's founder, Ashley Leavy, told Racked that some healers can charge up to $200 per hour. With those rates, if the demand is that high in your area, part-time crystal healers could pull in around $52,000 per year.

Should I quit my day job: The training is inexpensive and the potential salary could easily cover those costs, but go forth with a grain of salt.

Acupuncturist

Quick 200-hour certification programs won't cut it here. According to the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, most acupuncture schools require at least two undergraduate years with an appropriate degree program or the equivalent, like certification as a registered nurse or physician's assistant. Most likely, the school will require a full Bachelor's Degree for all applicants, and the schooling itself usually takes three to four years as a full-time student.

At the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine, a Master's degree program requires full-time students to take on 12 or more credits per quarter (there are three quarters in a year). Full-time students can power through the program in 36 consecutive months, but if you aren't enrolled full-time the program can take five to eight years to complete. If you stay on track to complete the program in six years, the tuition costs $4,761 per quarter. Six years equals 24 quarters, which shakes out to a little over $100,000 to complete the degree.

According to a job survey conducted by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, the median income for acupuncturists and professionals involved in oriental medicine was $52,000 in 2013.

Should I quit my day job: Are you kidding?

Life Coach

According to the International Coach Federation, there are three levels of life coaching certification: Associate Certified Coach, Professional Certified Coach, and Master Certified Coach. For the sake of time, money, and attention span, we're going to stick with the requirements to becoming an Associate Certified Coach (ACC).

The typical ACC certification requires at least 60 hours of training, 100 hours of documented coaching experience, 10 hours spent with a mentor coach, plus passing a test through the ICF to obtain full certification. At Coach U, an ICF-certified training school, the cost for the training portion of the ACC certification is $2,596. That's on the cheaper end of things. At the Academy of Leadership Coaching and NLP, another ICF-certified school, intensive three-week programs are offered at varying times throughout the year for $8,995 (if you register early enough). However, that program covers the credentialing requirements for the Professional Certified Coach level.

Coach U confirmed to Racked that once you're out in the field, you can expect to make between $150–$600 per client per month depending on how high the demand for life coaches is in your area. Coaches typically meet with their clients for about two hours every month, which means you're going to have to drum up quite the client list to begin coaching full time. If you meet with 20 clients and charge $300 per client per month, that's $6,000 per month or $72,000 per year.

Should I quit my day job: If you're a master networker, go for it.


Photo: Marilyn Barbone/Shutterstock

Holistic Nutritionist

Holistic nutritionists are similar to dietitians or regular nutritionists, except they can't practice in a clinical setting. According to a representative from Hawthorn University, most holistic nutritionists open up private practices after completing training. At Hawthorn, a Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition degree requires students to take 16 courses (60 credit hours) for graduation. Total tuition for the 60 credits plus miscellaneous fees is $11,820.

Since the field is self-regulated, all programs vary in length and depth. At the American College of Healthcare Sciences, the Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition program can cost up to nearly $20,000 for a 36-credit program. As far as pay goes, that varies even further. Since most work in private practices, an average income is hard to come by, but the FAQ page on ACHS's website stated that graduates earned between $10,000 and $61,000 back in 2000, with the average being $27,000. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual income for a dietician or nutritionist was $56,300 in May 2013, although that encompasses more careers than just holistic nutrition.

Should I quit my day job: Better question: do you identify more with Angelina Jolie's rumored eggplant recipes or Miley Cyrus's pizza bed? Let that answer guide your path.

Hypnotherapist

The field of hypnotherapy is also a self-regulated profession, which means there's a lot of variation on how long training programs are and how much each program costs. Generally, the length of training varies depending on the school; for example, at the Denver School of Hypnotherapy, certification in hypnotherapy is obtained after 150 hours of work to reach the Master Hypnotist level plus 150 classroom hours of training in different techniques. Total tuition for each certification level is $6,000, plus additional fees for books, etc.

If that's a little too committed, there are shorter routes to take. Dr. Shelley Stockwell-Nicholas, founder of the International Hypnosis Federation, operates a 150-hour hypnosis training program. At the HCH Institute, hypnotherapy certification requires 200 hours of classwork that usually takes about four months to complete, with tuition and materials fees adding up to $3,400.

Once hypnotherapists are certified—or, in some cases, during training—they can move into private consulting where they take on their own clients. According to the American Association of Professional Hypnotherapists, the national average rate for hypnotherapy was $85 per hour in 2008. The AAPH estimated that it takes about 12 to 18 months to build a practice and gain a steady flow of clients, but once that's established and the hypnotherapist is working with clients for about fifteen hours per week, that translates into $5,100 per month (at $85 per hour) or a little over $60,000 per year. That's a nationwide average, though. In California, where Dr. Stockwell-Nicholas practices, the rates typically double or triple the national average. Dr. Stockwell-Nicholas told Racked that she charges $200 per session, while some of her students charge up to $350 per session.

Should I quit my day job: If you live in California, drop everything and take up hypnosis immediately.

Reiki Master

Becoming a Reiki Master is way easier than it sounds. Reiki is a Japanese healing art not associated with any one religion, so the training is wide open. To master the art, the International Center for Reiki Training dictates that students must complete classes in Reiki I & II as well as Advanced Reiki training. These classes are offered all over the country (helpful list here) and are pretty inexpensive, considering some of the other careers in this list.

For example, Reiki Master Teacher Carolyn Musial offers Reiki I & II classes over two days for $350. The advanced Reiki Master course is three days long and costs $850. When she isn't teaching, Musial holds Reiki sessions for $65 per visit for humans and animals. However, the International Center for Reiki Training does warn trainees to choose their masters carefully and make sure that the master offers complete training without hidden fees or additional requirements, and is willing to support young Reiki Masters as they begin their own journey.

Should I quit my day job: No, but you could probably do both easily.


Photo: Zzvet/Shutterstock

Sound Therapist

Good news! There are sound healing certifications offered at accredited universities. Or at least one: the California Institute of Integral Studies. At that institute, the sound healing certification program currently costs $3,750, according to last fall's program fees, and the courses are taken over a one year period. At the slightly more questionable looking Globe Institute, a sound healing certificate can be obtained after completing a 15-week program that costs $2,300. For an all-out sound therapist degree, the Globe Institute offers a two-year associate's degree program for $12,000.

Again, there's no real industry average for sound therapist salaries since most host private therapy sessions, but SimplyHired clocks it in at around $44,000 annually.

Should I quit my day job: If you were that kid who could never get the hang of the clarinet but always felt a musical bent regardless, this is for you. The didgeridoo is way cheaper, way less complicated, and you'll probably get to play it extensively.

Shaman

Shamanism isn't exactly known for money and fame. Shamans are spiritual healers that enter into a different state of consciousness to tap into healing spirit powers. Not surprisingly, the teaching and salary info here is a little vague.

Sandra Ingerman, a licensed therapist and professional mental health counselor who's been teaching shamanism for over 30 years, organizes classes on everything from beginning shamanic journeys to soul retrieval. For her teacher training courses, she outlines prerequisites and screens potential candidates before accepting them into the two-year training program. While the classes do cost money, none listed cost over $150, and Ingerman offers a scholarship fund to students in need. As far as income goes, expect to be working outside of shamanism to pay the rent. "Most teachers have other sources of income," Ingerman told Racked in an email. "If teachers have too much pressure to teach to survive financially it takes away from being able to engage fully with love with the spiritual work and to be in true service to the community and to the Earth."

Should I quit my day job: No, but only for necessary life support.

Colon Hydrotherapist

This choice is a bit risky given the controversy surrounding the practice, but hey—if you have your sights set on colon cleansing, there's a market for it. The International Association of Colon Hydrotherapy is a well-recognized accrediting body in the field and it requires a minimum of 100 hours of training from an I-ACT approved school for the most basic level of accreditation, as well as at least three semesters of work at the college level, a CPR card, and a recommended one to three colon cleansings yourself before stepping into training.

At Alder Brooke Healing Arts in Eugene, Oregon, owner and I-ACT certified instructor Tara Alder charges $3,700 to take students through the 100 hours of training. At the Alliance of Classical Teachings in Georgia, the I-ACT certified foundation level teaching costs $4,995 for one-on-one instruction. Alder explained to Racked that after certification, the earnings vary depending on if you open your own practice, work for another colon hydrotherapist, and the quality of the business environment. She charges $127 for a client's first session and $108 for each subsequent session. It varies a lot depending on region, too. At the Claremont Clinic in California, the company charges $75 for one colonic cleansing and offers group rates for subsequent sessions.

Should I quit my day job: As long as it's clear that this is a labor of love. "I have enjoyed exceptional quality of life, gained experience worth a million and gained relationships worth more than gold," Alder told Racked in an email. "I love my career choice but I am the first to admit it is not near as easy as we make it look."