Frequently Asked Questions
Are these courses accredited?
These courses are accredited with the Australian Traditional-Medicine Society, the largest association for natural therapies in Australia. On completion of one of our Advanced Diploma qualifications, you will be eligible to apply for membership with ATMS. You can also apply for Associate Membership with the Complementary Medicine Association.
Is 'Switch on Health' a Registered Training Organisation (RTO)?
No. Education providers only need to be an RTO if they deliver Training Package qualifications under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). This is not required for professional development training or for ATMS accreditation. RTO status unfortunately no longer means that the provider and its courses are more credible or of higher quality than education providers accredited in other ways (although we hope this perception returns soon).
Are these courses like other Advanced Diplomas? Are the government accredited or recognised? What’s the difference?
Our courses are not delivered under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) and are not part of the Health Training Package. This means our courses are not restricted by outdated Training Package requirements or formal regulations that put administrative outcomes before your learning outcomes. Instead, our courses meet the standards mandated by ATMS, Australia's largest industry body for natural therapies. The content is more up-to-date and relevant. The assessments make more sense. The courses are designed to give you the best possible education experience, providing you with the knowledge and skills you need to become a successful practitioner.
Why should I choose Switch on Health? What makes you different?
First of all, we are the only ATMS accredited college in Australia to offer non-Bachelor qualifications in Naturopathy, Nutrition and Western Herbal Medicine. Please refer to our 'Why Switch on Health' page for more reasons you should choose us.
Will I be recognised by health funds when I graduate?
Due to ongoing changes in private health insurance, we are unable to comment on what your provider status might be in the future with regard to health funds. What we would encourage you to do, as we do, is lobby politicians to respect people's choices in health care.
Can I get any government funding to pay for my course?
There is no government funding or subsidies available for these courses, however, we do offer a range of flexible payment options.
How long do I have to complete my course?
The time allowed for each course offering is as follows:
Single subject: 6 months per subject
Nutrition entrée: 6 months
Advanced Diploma (Stage 1 or 2 or 3): 12 months per stage
Can I get an extension if I don’t complete before my enrolment expires?
If you are unable to complete before your enrolment expires, you may be able to re-enrol in any subjects you didn't complete. For full Stage enrolments, you may have the very cost effective option of being able to pay a flat monthly fee that allows you to keep going until you do complete the Stage. Terms and Conditions are available at our enrolment page.
Can I defer my studies?
We do not allow mid-Stage/mid-subject deferrals, but you are usually able to delay your enrolment (or re-enrollment) into your next subject or Stage if you need some time to take care of other things. Terms and Conditions are available on our enrolment page.
What are the clinic requirements?
The clinic, which is typically commenced at the same time you commence Stage 3, requires you to undertake 200 hours clinic for the Nutrition or Herbal Medicine qualifications, or 400 hours for Naturopathy. You will need to source a Switch on Health approved supervisor to undertake Clinic.
Do I have to do Clinic?
If you want to attain the Advanced Diploma and become ATMS accredited then yes, you will need to complete Clinic. If you do NOT want to attain the Advanced Diploma then you do not have to undertake Clinic, in which case we can still award you with Certificates for each subject that you do completely.
What happens if I can't locate a supervisor near me?
Switch on Health builds and maintains a network of approved supervisors. We cannot, however, guarantee availability in your location so you may need to travel to complete your hours if you cannot source a supervisor locally.
How many hours do I need to study each week?
It will vary depending on the individual, but we suggest you allocate 9 hours per week for Nutrition or Western Herbal Medicine, and 15 hours per week for Naturopathy. These averages include clinic which is typically undertaken simultaneously with the Third Stage. Ultimately it is up to you how many hours you wish to study.
Is the course ‘self-paced’? Can I go faster or slower than the allowed time?
Yes, you can go more quickly or slowly than our stated timeframes, however, your enrolment only provides access for a specified period so you will incur additional costs if you go beyond those timeframes. You will be advised of your end date when you enrol and it is your responsibility to ensure all assessments are passed before that date otherwise you may incur additional costs.
What job opportunities exist for me when I finish?
You could work as a Nutritionist/Herbalist/Naturopath in private practice, perhaps solo or as part of a multi-disciplinary practice. You could manage a clinic or wellness centre, become an author (professional, blogging, magazines, journals, cookbooks), work in a health spa or retreat, teach (training, workshops, assessing), work for suppliers and distributors in a variety of roles (tech support, sales, R&D) and more.
What do I need to be able to study?
As these courses are online, you must have access to a computer with reliable internet service. Some assessments are conducted ‘live’, so your IT needs to be able to support audio and video upload and download (e.g. Skype). It is your responsibility to ensure you have adequate IT to complete this course.
Are textbooks included in the course fees?
Access to our online learning materials is included in your course fees. Some subjects also require access to textbooks which you could borrow (library, friends, online co-ops) or purchase (hardcopy or softcopy, new or used).
Do you offer on-campus classes or face-to-face tutorials?
Our courses are delivered online so you can access them from anywhere that has a reasonable Internet connection. We do not have face-to-face classrooms in the traditional sense, however, you may purchase one-on-one individual sessions with a tutor at your convenience. These are private, conducted via Skype or similar, and allow you direct access to a tutor for personalised support with your studies. These can be arranged at a time that suits you, including evenings and weekends. We think you’ll agree this is even better than a classroom shared with 30 other students.
Do I need to have studied before? Are there any pre-requisites?
No! Our courses take everyone right from square one through to being a qualified health professional.
What are the entry requirements?
You must be reasonably computer literate (e.g. able to navigate our online learning system, download, save, and upload your assessments, use an app such as Skype, etc). You must also have reasonably literacy and numeracy skills. Most of our assessments are ‘short answer question’ assessments. Anyone who has completed Year 12 should be able to study these courses, but what is more important than your level of schooling is your attitude. You must be willing to learn!
Can I RPL (prior study recognition) some or all of the course? Will you recognise what I’ve already done elsewhere?
RPL is possible with some of our subjects but not all of them. Any applications for RPL must be made before your course commences, noting fees apply for this process. We do not accept any RPL evidence greater than 5 years old. There are three possible outcomes to an RPL application:
1) RPL granted (possible with selected subjects only)
2) RPL eligible. You will have the option to pay to do the assessments only, without access to course content.
3) RPL not accepted and the full subject fee applies.
Can I RPL clinic?
RPL for the clinic is possible if ATMS requirements for the clinic have been met. An RPL assessment fee will apply.
Do I have to enrol in the whole course? Can I change my mind?
You have the choice of enrolling in either individual Stages or subjects. This means if you commence your study and decide you no longer wish to continue for any reason, you are not locked into a full Advanced Diploma. You are welcome to call us for an obligation-free chat if you’re not sure what’s right for you. We don't pay sales commission and have no interest in signing you up if it’s not right for you. If you’re not sure, perhaps start with a single subject or our Nutrition entrée and see how you go.
Is a Bachelor degree the new minimum standard for the industry?
No. The Australian Traditional-Medicine Society, which is the largest professional association for natural therapists in Australia, have set these Advanced diplomae as the minimum standard for membership with ATMS.
Will I need to upgrade to a Bachelor in the future?
The leading industry body for natural therapists, ATMS, publish their minimum education standards here. Our courses meet these standards and are accredited by ATMS, so you do not need a Bachelor for ATMS accreditation. It is not expected that ATMS will amend this standard. If the standard did change, it is not uncommon that existing older qualifications would continue to be recognised under a ‘grandfathering’ clause, so long as the holders had continued to meet professional development, industry membership and indemnity insurance requirements.
Can I go on and do further study elsewhere (e.g. articulate into Bachelor or Masters programs)?
Yes, depending on the specific requirements of the particular University or higher education provider you wish to study with. We are strong proponents of continuing education and encourage all our graduates to go on to further study.