The Dirty Truth about Holistic Certifications

Updated: Dec 6, 2021



I am not an economist, but I have been operating in the alternative/holistic industry for 15 years, and I have observed the trends of its grassroots immersion into traditional commerce. There are misconceptions in the holistic industry, and more emphasis should be placed on bridging the gap. This responsibility rests on the shoulders of all holistic certification schools, who should be setting appropriate expectations for their prospective students. In this article, I’ll discuss what your holistic certification means, why each holistic certification school should properly prepare its students for profitability, and what you need to know as a holistic practitioner who is considering expanding your practice.

Holistic Certifications Don’t Mean Anything

You read that right. And yes, I own and operate a clinical hypnotherapy certification school! Am I cutting my feet out from under me by writing this? Or am I galvanizing the resolve for future student hypnotherapists who will enroll in my school? You can decide after reading.

Non-traditional/holistic/alternative (non-licensed) certifications ultimately don’t mean anything to the traditional world of education because they do not regulate non-traditional schools. Since traditional education fuels the majority of the US economy, pursuing an unlicensed, unregulated holistic certification will not have earning power in the traditional sense. When you get a certification in any non-licensed holistic modality, you are essentially on your own when it comes to earning money. And unfortunately, most people who pursue holistic certifications don’t have business experience.

Countless alternative/holistic certification schools are happy to certify you in anything they can create (and they do), but most (not all) of those certifications don’t mean anything once you set foot outside of the school onto the sidewalk and into the real-world economy. In most cases, you can’t even use a holistic certification to apply for a job in the traditional workforce. There are a growing number of exceptions, but generally, a holistic certification might be limited to augmenting your traditional credentials at best.

Non-regulated, non-licensed disciplines can do whatever they want; there are little, or no education standards, no practice standards, and no one needs to abide by anyone else’s rules—it’s a free-for-all. It’s like your college experience probably was before you declared a major—all fun, no accountability.

So, is getting a holistic certification a waste of time? No, it’s not. Especially depending on how you use it—that is key.

The Perception of Economic Value

A four-year degree from a traditional educational institution typically abides under a universal regulatory body, which essentially ensures that you have earning power in the economy. In other words, the institutions that abide by the accreditation have given a specific value for your 4-year degree (master’s, doctorate, etc.). Thus, anyone part of that economic system will associate a dollar-valued range with your degree. Many students who take the traditional path assess the monetary value for their degree within the economy before even setting foot on campus.

To take it a step further, even the college you attend can impact your earning power. For example, any degree from a name-brand college such as Harvard or Stanford will have more perceived value than any degree from your local community college. Different factors influence and impact your earning power: age, marital status, the list goes on.

But, if there is no universal agreement upon the value of something (i.e., non-regulated), then its value only matters to those who issue the accreditation. Those who don’t participate in the regulation/accreditation do not have the same standards or receive the same benefits of that economic system, nor are they bound by it. Imagine traveling to another world where aliens barter alien vegetables as their currency, and then you show up with dollar bills and coins. Your money would be useless to their economy.

Most alternative/holistic certifications are not accredited and not licensed because no universal laws govern them except varying widely by state. As a result, there is no universally agreed-upon value associated with holistic certifications by the traditional 4-year college-degree-dependent economy. Because of this, you must get as much inherent value as possible from your alternative/holistic certification to be profitable from your tuition investment. Many alternative/holistic certifications sadly will likely never be relevant or recognized within the traditional economy, except within their tribal microcosms and niches.

Transferrable vs. Non-transferrable Economic Value

An education offers value in two primary ways:

  1. Its immediate practical application.

  2. Its value to the economic system to which it’s applied.

A 4-year college degree has more transferrable value than a holistic certification because there are more employers within that economic system who place value on 4-year degrees, which fill their needs.

A non-regulated holistic certification has more non-transferrable value because it is not created for the dominant economic engine that values 4-year college degrees. Thus, few traditional companies seek to hire certified holistic practitioners because they aren’t traditionally vetted and not recognized as part of the economic system that would otherwise place value upon them. For example, if you went job searching for hypnotherapist positions in the job market, you would find few positions available within our traditional economic system of commerce because the hypnotherapist certification is a holistic, unregulated one.

So, a holistic certification (or even an accredited holistic certification) doesn’t mean anything to the traditional economy until universal standards exist for them.

But the good news is more non-traditional, holistic businesses are emerging that want to hire certified practitioners. Spas and wellness centers, in particular, are great places to begin job searching, especially if you have a very niched holistic certification, like toe reading or cranial sacral therapy. A hypnotherapy certification is an even more appealing holistic option because it is one of the few holistic modalities that is backed by the American Medical Association as being a legitimate therapy and one that the public also recognizes. In addition, if you have the right business and marketing training to ensure your success, an even more appealing option is to start your own business as a certified hypnotherapist.

Holistic Business Marketing Training is a Necessity

Because an unregulated holistic certification does not have traditional economic value, it is immensely important that you be trained to use it to generate earning power. A 4-year accredited college has guaranteed economic value in the job market; an alternative/holistic certification does not; it may have potential earning power, but no guaranteed earning power. So if you plan to be a profitable business owner with your alternative/holistic certification, you need to ensure that the school you choose also trains you to become your own economic engine. Even if you had a licensed certification, you would still need to become your own economic engine as a practitioner, albeit with some regulation.

Does your alternative/holistic certification school include business and marketing training? Most alternative/holistic schools happily issue certifications because people want to buy them, but most do not offer the business training you need to become a profitable business owner. A non-traditional holistic/alternative certification school worth its price of admission should train you to be profitable as a business owner. Anything less than that is irresponsible to its graduates, and I dare say, outright deceitful if they are positioning themselves as helping you to start a “career.” It kind of makes you rethink what being prepared for a career means, doesn’t it?

Designed for Consumer Demand

A career isn’t just an educational 4-year college degree; it’s also an implied opportunity to be able to apply that education for compensation. Degreed graduates are no different than the next guy without a degree if the economy tanks or innovates in their industry of expertise, rendering their degrees obsolete. Imagine how the automotive industry might innovate in the next ten years.

Alternative/Holistic Certification Schools aren’t to be assigned total blame for selling you a certification that has little to no value in the traditional economy. Colleges and universities sell them also to cater to students who want more educational diversity. As a result, some college degrees are scoffed at for being less practical or arguably having fewer opportunities in the traditional economy. Jobs exist for these diverse degrees; they’re just more niched or not as in demand. As old degrees lose relevancy, colleges and universities design new degrees that have rising demand in the economy (i.e., artificial intelligence), which is important to drive traditional economic growth.

While traditional educational institutions predominantly design their degrees for the existing and evolving economy (with little emphasis on consumer demand), alternative/holistic certification schools predominantly design their certification programs based on consumer demand (of those interested in the modality itself), with little emphasis on economic value.

So why would anyone want to invest in an education that has little value to the traditional economy?

What Attracts People to Holistic Certifications

People attracted to alternative/holistic certifications generally don’t consider the economic value of their certification in the traditional economy. Only a small percentage of people have a premeditated holistic business marketing plan and follow through on it. Many who enter the holistic industry think about starting a business only after they are drawn to the modality for some other reason, although that is changing post-2020. Generally speaking, people enter holistic industries for one or more of the following reasons:

  • They are drawn to the holistic modality itself.

  • They want to use holistic as a form of self-expression.

  • They healed themselves holistically and want to extend it to others.

  • They want a hobby and have some other income to support them.

  • They want freedom from the restrictions that traditional careers can’t offer them.

  • They had a traditional career, but now they want to try something more fulfilling.

  • They want to help further establish their respective holistic modality or industry as legitimate through offering professional service.

Take a good hard look around you: how many people do you know with alternative/holistic certifications who are providing for their families and making the amount of money they would prefer to make with their certification? In my experience, not many. The majority scrape by financially and collect numerous holistic certifications in an attempt to enhance their earning power. Sadly, this approach does not equate to knowing how to market oneself, get clients, and run a profitable business that supports you and your family.


Whether you get a 4-year college degree or get a certification from an alternative/holistic school, neither has a significant history of teaching you how to create a living from the education you’ve just received.

But if you are lucky enough to find an alternative/holistic school that teaches you how to use your holistic certification to create earning power so that you can make a living, be profitable and provide for your family, that holistic certification is worth its weight in gold—it’s a game-changer for your financial future.

If earning a living with your holistic certification is important to you, and you would like to learn how to do it, I am proud to inform you that our school, Schaefer Institute of Hypnosis (owned and operated by my wife and me), provide top-quality training for you to become a certified clinical hypnotherapist which includes a robust business marketing training program custom-designed for student hypnotherapists, which includes all of the business education, necessary systems and sales training that you need to run a successful practice. We have carefully designed this training specifically for you so that you can start your hypnosis practice from scratch the right way to become a profitable business that fully supports you and your family financially for many years to come.

Click here to apply for enrollment. We would love to have you join us as a hypnotherapy student, and we are committed to your success!

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