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Complementary Health


This page provides information and data on the Complementary Health sector.

The Complementary Health sector is made up of practitioners who treat patients with physical, mental, spiritual and emotional needs by considering the whole person, rather than focusing on specific symptoms, and by using various therapies, techniques and practices.

Nationally recognised training for complementary health is delivered under the HLT Health Training Package.

The Complementary Health Industry Reference Committee (IRC) has responsibility for nine qualifications, packaged within the HLT Health Training Package, aligned to job roles within the following sectors:

  • Ayurveda
  • Aromatherapy
  • Kinesiology
  • Massage and Remedial Massage Therapy
  • Shiatsu
  • Reflexology
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine Remedial Massage.

From June 2017, qualifications for Naturopathy, Homoeopathy, Western Herbal Medicine and Nutritional Medicine are no longer on scope. However data on previous enrolments and completions is still shown in the charts below. 

For information on other health-related training and employment, visit the Health industry page and the various sectors.

Information sourced from the Complementary Health IRC Industry Skills Forecast.

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

Since 2000, the employment level for a number of complementary health occupations has grown considerably. In particular, the Massage Therapist workforce grew from 3,300 in 2000 to 16,400 in 2017. Complementary health occupations are all projected to grow to 2022.

Training trends

Training snapshot

In 2016 there were 16,560 program enrolments in complementary health qualifications, and 4,106 program completions.

Just under three-quarters of program enrolments are at the diploma or higher level.

The highest proportion of enrolments is in remedial massage qualifications, followed by massage therapy qualifications.

The majority of training (87%) is delivered by private providers. In addition, 78% of training is funded by domestic fee for service.

The majority of students are located in New South Wales (27%), Victoria (25%) and Queensland (21%). 

There were insufficient enrolments in apprenticeships or traineeships to allow analysis.

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, visit NCVER’s VET Students by Industry.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of total VET. If you are prompted to log in, select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

Industry insights

Infographic title: Priority skills: 2017 skills forecast,, Infographic data,, "Title: Top priority skills,,Top priority skills, Communication, Business, Marketing, Customer Service, Technology " Title: Top generic skills,,Customer service/Marketing, Learning agility/Information literacy/Intellectual autonomy and self-management, Communication/Virtual collaboration/Social intelligence, Design mindset/Thinking critically/System thinking/Solving problems, Language, Literacy and Numeracy " Infographic title: Skills and occupations in demand: job vacancies,, Title: Top generic skills in demand,,Top generic skills in demand, Communication Skills, Research, Organisational Skills, Planning, Writing, Time Management Title: Top 3 occupations in demand,,Dietitian, Massage Therapist, Remedial Massage Therapist  Title: Top 5 locations,, Top 5 Locations, New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia  Infographic source, Priority skills source: Complementary Health IRC Skills Forecast and Schedule of Work 2016-17, Job vacancy occupations in demand source: Burning Glass Technologies’ Labor Insight Real Time Labor Market Information tool

Industry insights on skills needs

The Complementary Health IRC Industry Skills Forecast 2017 identifies a number of factors which have an impact upon the Complementary Health workforce and training needs.

  • Strong growth in the workforce and industry in recent years
  • Increasing demand due to greater health consciousness in the population, an ageing population, the degree of satisfaction with mainstream medicine and an acceptance of the effectiveness of complementary health therapies
  • The role of the Complementary Health workforce in delivering health services to rural and regional communities
  • Regulation and the role of accreditation, certification, and professional development to maintain compliance
  • Growing private health insurance membership has contributed to growth in claims for complementary health services
  • The ability to create a viable and professional career in Complementary Health
  • Increasing need to understand current and future health trends and tailor services to clients.

The Skills Forecast identified the following priority skills for the Complementary Health workforce:

  • Communication
  • Business
  • Marketing
  • Customer Service
  • Technology.

Relevant research

Complementary Health IRC Industry Skills Forecast

The Practice and Regulatory Requirements of Naturopathy and Western Herbal Medicine


Links and resources

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment, 2017, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal:

  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2022
    • 2522 Complementary Health Therapists
    • 2511 Nutrition Professionals
    • 4116 Massage Therapists
    • 4515 Personal Care Consultants.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, Employed persons by occupation unit group of main job (ANZSCO), sex, state and territory, August 1986 onwards 6291.0.55.003 - EQ08, viewed 1 September 2017<>

  • Employed total by ANZSCO four digit selected occupations, 2000 to 2017, May Quarter
    • 2522 Complementary Health Therapists
    • 2511 Nutrition Professionals
    • 4116 Massage Therapists
    • 4515 Personal Care Consultants.                                                                                              

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET Students and Courses from the following training package or qualifications:

  • HLT Health Training Package
  • HLT40307 - Certificate IV in Massage Therapy Practice
  • HLT40312 - Certificate IV in Massage Therapy Practice
  • HLT41207 - Certificate IV in Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultation
  • HLT41212 - Certificate IV in Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultation
  • HLT42015 - Certificate IV in Massage Therapy
  • HLT42707 - Certificate IV in Aromatherapy
  • HLT42712 - Certificate IV in Aromatherapy
  • HLT42807 - Certificate IV in Kinesiology
  • HLT42812 - Certificate IV in Kinesiology
  • HLT50112 - Diploma of Traditional Chinese Medicine Remedial Massage (An Mo Tui Na)
  • HLT50207 - Diploma of Shiatsu and Oriental Therapies
  • HLT50212 - Diploma of Shiatsu and Oriental Therapies
  • HLT50307 - Diploma of Remedial Massage
  • HLT51407 - Diploma of Aromatherapy
  • HLT51507 - Diploma of Kinesiology
  • HLT51707 - Diploma of Reflexology
  • HLT51712 - Diploma of Reflexology
  • HLT52015 - Diploma of Remedial Massage
  • HLT52115 - Diploma of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Remedial Massage
  • HLT52215 - Diploma of Shiatsu and Oriental Therapies
  • HLT52315 - Diploma of Clinical Aromatherapy
  • HLT52415 - Diploma of Kinesiology
  • HLT52515 - Diploma of Reflexology
  • HLT52615 - Diploma of Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultation
  • HLT60102 - Advanced Diploma of Western Herbal Medicine
  • HLT60107 - Advanced Diploma of Western Herbal Medicine
  • HLT60112 - Advanced Diploma of Western Herbal Medicine
  • HLT60507 - Advanced Diploma of Naturopathy
  • HLT60512 - Advanced Diploma of Naturopathy
  • HLT60612 - Advanced Diploma of Homoeopathy
  • HLT60707 - Advanced Diploma of Ayurveda
  • HLT60712 - Advanced Diploma of Ayurveda
  • HLT60907 - Advanced Diploma of Aromatic Medicine
  • HLT61007 - Advanced Diploma of Nutritional Medicine
  • HLT61012 - Advanced Diploma of Nutritional Medicine
  • HLT62615 - Advanced Diploma of Ayurveda.

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2014, 2015, 2016 program enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016 subject enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016 program completions.

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Location data uses student residence. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions, please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document. 

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.

Percentages are rounded to one decimal place.  This can lead to situations where the total sum of proportions in a chart may not add up to exactly 100%.

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Complementary Health Industry Reference Committee’s 2017 Industry Skills Forecast.

Burning Glass Technologies: Labor insight – real-time labor market information tool. <>. 2017.

  • Job advertisements from all of Australia from January 2014 to August 2017 are included in the analysis. Data shown is the top advertised VET-related occupations, their location and employers for the following occupation sectors:
    • 2522 Complementary Health Therapists
    • 2511 Nutrition Professionals
    • 4116 Massage Therapists
    • 4515 Personal Care Consultants
  • Skills data has also been extracted from the Burning Glass Labour insights job vacancy data tool. Data shown is the proportion of job advertisements which request generic skills for VET-related occupations in the industry and occupations listed above.
Updated: 02 Oct 2018
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