Becoming an AHG Registered Herbalist

It is the hope of the American Herbalists Guild that there can be herbalists easily accessible in every community so that individuals seeking healthy and natural alternatives and complements to conventional medical therapies can find the type of care for which they are looking.

Please read this webpage in its entirety for information about how to apply to become a Registered Herbalist. It is advised that potential applicants review all of the supportive resources below prior to applying for Registered Herbalist Membership. Please do not hesitate to contact our Executive Director, Mimi Hernandez with further questions. 

  1. Become familiar with Criteria and Instructions for AHG Professional Application
  2. Access the Webinar for "Preparing a Case Study for Review"  HERE
  3. Access the current AHG Application*
  4. Access a Letter of Recommendation Form 

*Applications are processed 3 times per year starting on March, July, and November 15th. Please plan accordingly.

Becoming an AHG Registered Herbalist
AHG Registered Herbalist Membership exists as a way for herbalists to demonstrate a core level of knowledge and experience in botanical medicine practice that is recognizable as a meaningful standard to themselves, to the general public, and to other health professionals and institutions. But how does one go about becoming a Registered Herbalist? This is a question we are frequently asked. Hopefully this article will explain the process and clear up confusion that sometimes arises for those seeking to apply.

The Application Process
The process of applying for Registered Herbalist Membership requires several hours of your time and effort, but is really quite simple. When you feel ready or when it is suggested by a teacher that you have met the criteria to become a Registered Herbalist, it is important that you carefully review all of the resources on this Webpage. Here you can access the “Criteria and Instructions for AHG Application” and download the AHG Registered Herbalist Application.

The application consists of a variety of questions about your practice as well as clinical scenarios for you to respond to. In addition, you are required to submit three comprehensive case histories from your practice, and three letters of recommendation, one from your primary herb teachers and the rest from other herbalists or health professionals (preferably but not necessarily herbalists) with whom you have a working relationship. A non-refundable application fee ($75 for members, $125 for non-members) is due upon application submission.

The application process operates on a cyclical basis: Three times per year on the 15th of March, July, and November mark the application due dates. Should a candidate submit a completed application within this time-frame but lack one or more letters of recommendation, we will hold the application until the next due date to allow extra time to obtain these. Upon each due date completed applications are prescreened by the AHG Executive Director to make sure they are complete, and are then copied and sent to the five members of the Admissions Committee for review. The prescreen process may take up to 30 days.

Once received by the Admissions Committee, applications are reviewed for a set of 15 specified objective criteria. Each of these criteria is evaluated on a 1-5 Leikert scale, and a score is determined for the applicant. David Winston, the current Director of Admissions reviews all scoring for consistency and contacts Admissions Committee members if there are any questions or concerns about a review or an applicant. He then collates the individual scores to determine whether the applicant has been accepted as a Registered Herbalist. A minimum score in each category, and an overall score must be achieved to be accepted as a Registered Herbalist. This process typically takes 90 days.

All of the completed and scored reviews are then sent to the AHG main office. Those applicants that have clearly not been accepted are informed of this and are sent feedback so that they can understand the reason for non-acceptance and what areas to work on for future application. Any candidate who is close to meeting the minimum score but does not quite meet it for one reason or another, is sent a letter informing them that they have a one-year grace period in which to meet any missing criteria. At the end of one year, if they are able to demonstrate that they have met these criteria, they are then accepted without having to go through a re-application process. It is not uncommon for an applicant to improve their application within six months to a year and be accepted upon re-application. Applicants are encouraged to  contact the Executive Director to discuss a plan that will address areas of improvement. 

The AHG developed this admissions-review process in order to assess the basic competency of herbalists with diverse herbal training and experience. Other professions need not have such a process because competency is measured through having completed a standardized form of training with built-in measures of academic and professional achievement through diplomas and licensing examinations. The AHG honors competency no matter how it is attained and this review process reflects this commitment.

In Summary
The AHG Admissions Committee hopes that the Registered Herbalist application process for the Guild is rigorous enough that achieving Registered Herbalist is meaningful to the individual applicant as well as to those seeking the services of our Registered Herbalists, yet straightforward enough not to cause applicants undue stress or confusion. We welcome your questions, comments, and insights. 


Hippocrates said 2000 years ago "It is more important to know the person that has a disease, than the disease a person has"

View Becoming an AHG Professional Member, a webinar with Michael Tierra and Althea Northage-Orr, members of the AHG Professional Admissions Review Committee:

PowerPoint (slides) MP3 (audio)

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