Full-time Certificate Program

At the Blue Otter School of Herbal Medicine I was able to truly step into the worlds of plants. Time no longer mattered, communication with all life forms was honored. We were trained in how to be humble humans and listen to what the plants had to offer. As I walk forward in life I will always carry these amazing lessons and wonderful teachers with me.

— De’va Robinson, Full Time Program 2009

The Blue Otter School of Herbal Medicine full-time program runs for four months and is designed for  serious students who are ready to fully immerse themselves in the world of plants, spirit, medicine and self. Our students leave grounded in basic practitioner skills, plant knowledge, energetics and a love of and delight in the plants. This course is geared toward clinical practice.

We will be working in the garden, tending to stands in the wild, spending time in nature, making herbal medicines, spending time in classroom instruction and taking the plants internally. Additionally, we will be spending time in meditation, discussing the political context of health care, getting our hands dirty and laughing.

Curriculum includes; 400+ hours:

  • Materia medica – physical and spirit medicinal properties of the plants
  • Energetics – energetic interactions of plants with each other and with people
  • Cultivating techniques – starting plants from seed or root, planting and harvesting techniques, growing plants, soil preparations; garden time
  • Medicine making – how to make herbal preparations
  • Body systems – basic foundation for understanding the body’s physical functions with an energetic understanding
  • Case studies – working cases to learn assessment and herbal formulations
  • Animal care – using plants for the health of animals
  • Practitioner skills/ethics – what it means to be a practitioner and work with people

Schedule: March 26 – July 19, 2018

Classes are held Monday through Thursday, 8 – 2 with a one-hour break for lunch. We will have some field trips that take us outside of these hours. There is a one week break from school midway through the four month session.  

Class size: Classes are limited to a maximum of 16 students in order to ensure individual attention.

Tuition : $4,800 in 2018 (with class overtime, comes to less than $12/hour). Tuition covers the cost of in-class medicine making supplies. Students are responsible for their own food and lodging.

Instructors: Karyn Sanders and Sarah Holmes

Application process: Applications to the school are accepted year round. We fill up quickly, so early applications are encouraged. We will start to review applications after August 1st for the following spring. Applications received after this time will be considered on a first come and space-available basis.

In addition to the written application there is a phone interview with the instructors. Applications may be downloaded application.fulltime or requested by phone, mail or email.

Please take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page as well.


Prospective students are welcome to sit in on a half day of class or meet with the instructors; with prior arrangement. Siskiyou County is beautiful and most people enjoy their visit to the area. We only offer this to students seriously considering the full-time program. We are too busy, with a two person staff, to offer tours to people just curious or casually interested. Thank you for your understanding.