Project Description

15 classes • 550 contact hours • fully online

If you are ready to become an herbalist and help others achieve health through herbs, supplements, and essential oils, the Diploma in Dietary Supplement Science is the perfect program for you. The DipDSS is an in-depth herbal medicine course covering all aspects of herbalism, with the inclusion of nutraceuticals (dietary supplements) and essential oils. Data from the National Institutes of Health reveal that over half of Americans currently take dietary supplements, and that figure is rapidly growing. This booming industry is in need of highly qualified herbalists to develop premium products, meet with clients regarding the appropriate uses of herbal medicine, nutraceuticals, and essential oils, and consult with professionals in related industries.

If you are ready to become an herbalist, the DipDSS from FSIHS is your school for herbal medicine. FSIHS provides you the academic and professional herbalist training you need to gain a competitive advantage in this rapidly growing field. This fully online program combines core sciences of herbal medicine with product development and professional herbalist training, providing 550 contact hours of evidence based education.

FSIHS offers rolling acceptance, so you can start your path towards becoming an herbalist at any time, and with four convenient start dates each year (January, April, July, October), you are never more than a few weeks away from starting the program!

  • International Student Body – Join instructors and students from all over the world
  • Fully Online & Blended Options – Complete the program from your own home or supplement your learning with optional on-site workshops
  • Academic Success – Go beyond the basics to fully master the art and science of herbalism
  • Student Dedication – With a 92% graduation rate, FIW has a track record of ensuring that students succeed
  • Graduate Success – A whopping 94% of graduates now work in natural health using their diploma

The diploma consists of 15 total classes, ranging from 30-50 contact hours each (equivalent to 3-5 quarter credit hours each). With accelerated terms of only 11 weeks and 4 start dates each year, you can earn your DipDSS in as little as 15-30 months!

Program Legitimacy

In such a rapidly growing field, it is important to confirm the legitimacy of your herbalism training. As evidence of the higher standards you will find at the Franklin Institute of Wellness, we are proud to be fully authorized to grant college certificates and degrees by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. This commission oversees college education and ensures that diplomas and certificates issued by the FIW are recognized as legitimate college credentials nationwide.

This authorization is renewed annually and is based on standards concerning the quality of higher education offered by FIW, ethical business practices, student success rates, instructor qualifications, and fiscal responsibility. Franklin Institute of Wellness has been approved as a higher education institution since its foundation in 2013 and annual reviews have found that the school continues to meet those high standards each year.

The Franklin Institute of Wellness is also an approved school by the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy and is the only NAHA approved school with a PhD researcher directing the program. Our Director, Dr. Jessie Hawkins, is also the Tennessee Regional Director for NAHA and a frequent speaker at NAHA events.

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Herbalist Certification Curriculum

The Diploma in Dietary Supplement Science program covers not only in-depth herbalist training, but also health sciences, nutraceuticals, aromatherapy, and much more. This comprehensive curriculum ensures that you are able to achieve success as an herbalist upon graduation from the program. The required classes for the DipDSS can be taken in 5 full time academic quarters, 10 part time academic quarters, or a customized course schedule that reflects your unique budget and availability.

Required classes for the DipDSS (herbal medicine diploma) include ten core classes, which are 30 contact hours each, and five concentration classes, which are 50 contact hours each. For planning purposes, a contact hour reflects 50-60 minutes of instruction delivery and requires an additional 1-3 hours of study time. Instruction delivery may be online lectures, hands-on assignments, textbook reading, or reading research studies. Additional study time is determined by each student’s unique learning style and previous experience with the subject.

Explore the Classes in the DipDSS:

This 30 contact hour class provides the scientific foundation for the identification and utilization of plant matter in modern health practices. It explores plant families and prominent chemicals from these plants with an emphasis on practical applications for modern formulations.

Instructor: Sandra Mills
Offered in Quarters: 2 (Spring) and 4 (Fall) 

In this 30 contact hour class, you will study the origins of modern health by looking back over time at the ways culture, innovation, and science have influenced health practices. By exploring the evolution of health through the eyes of prominent leaders, you will have a comprehensive framework and context to explore your role in today’s natural health field.

Instructor: Colby Baker
Offered in Quarters: 2 (Spring) and 4 (Fall)

 This 30 contact hour course provides a broad overview of health outcomes in the United States among varying populations, including the known risk factors which contribute to these outcomes, and the most important areas of emphasis for the natural health professional.

Instructor: Colby Baker
Offered in Quarters: 2 (Spring)

Formulation skills, dosing calculations, marketing legalities, and product development are covered in this 30 contact hour class. You will learn how to properly create multiple herbal applications and to formulate innovative and effective products.

Instructor: Sandra Mills
Offered in Quarters: 1 (Winter) and 3 (Summer)

 This 30 contact hour class provides an introduction to the connections throughout the body triggered by the stress response. You will learn the science behind how the mind-body connection affects wellness and how to adapt stress-relieving behaviors. 

Instructor: Christy Hires
Offered in Quarters: 1 (Winter) and 3 (Summer)

This 30 contact hour class covers the major body systems and organs within each system with an emphasis on how botanical products affect these systems and how they function in both health and disease.

Instructor: Dr. Laura Debiasi
Offered in Quarters: 1 (Winter) and 3 (Summer)

 This 30 contact hour class provides information on the environmental friendly habits that play a crucial role in supplement production and availability. It includes biomagnification, genetic resistance, synergism, environmental toxicology, and the link between ecosystems and biodiversity with human health.

Instructor: Multiple
Offered in Quarters: 2 (Spring)

Research Methods is a 30 contact hour class which covers the research process, the role of scientific research in botanical science, and how scientists conduct scientific research. You will master the science of research interpretation and better understand how to use scientific research to inform botanical product applications.

Instructor: Dr. Jessie Hawkins
Offered in Quarters: all

This 30 contact hour class empowers you to utilize multiple strategies to work with both individual clients and large groups to promote wellness. It includes the FIW 5-Pillar model of client support, health behavior models and theories, and modern influencing techniques available through blogging and social education.

Instructor: Christy Hires
Offered in Quarters: 4 (Fall)

This 30 contact hour class bridges the gap between practical education and professional success. You will learn how to legally and ethically operate as a natural health professional with or without additional professional credentials.

Instructor: Christy Hires
Offered in Quarters: all

This 50 contact hour concentration class provides introductory mastery of essential oils, including sourcing, production, applications, and formulations. There is an optional on-site lab workshop that can be added to this class to enhance learning.

Instructor: Christy Hires
Offered in Quarters: 1 (Winter) and 3 (Summer)

In this 50 contact hour class, you will learn how botanical products and herbals fit into the modern system of wellness and explore how plant matter has been used for drug development for centuries. This exploration includes mastering the usage of dozens of plants for wellness with an introduction to practical application.

Instructor: Dr. Laura Debiasi
Offered in Quarters:  2 (Spring) and 4 (Fall)

In this 50 contact hour concentration class, you will begin to gain real world experience, applying solutions from the scientific literature to real life scenarios. It builds upon the foundation established in BOT101 by furthering your mastery of botanically based products, exploring new extraction methods (such as CO2 extracts and hydrosols), and empowers you to apply these findings to the real world.

Instructor: Dr. Laura Debiasi
Offered in Quarters:  1 (Winter)

In this 50 contact hour concentration class, you will integrate the use of nutraceuticals such as melatonin, probiotics, and fish oils into a wellness setting using scientific findings to ensure both safety and efficacy. This class provides real world experience and empowers you to connect the scientific research to real life scenarios.

Instructor: Dr. Laura Debiasi
Offered in Quarters:  3 (Summer)

This advanced 50 contact hour concentration class provides practical fieldwork, critical applications of the scientific content, and practical experience as a professional in botanical products. It includes multiple in-depth case studies, hands-on experience applying findings from scientific research, and creative formulation exercises.

Instructor: Colby Baker
Offered in Quarters:  all

Academic work at the Franklin Institute of Wellness is rigorous and comprehensive. Returning to college to earn a diploma is a challenge that requires commitment. However, our faculty members are here to support you every step of the way, ensuring that you have fully mastered the content in the classes. Upon graduation, you will have achieved expertise in the field of herbalism that rivals some of the greatest experts in the field.

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Affordable Tuition

The Franklin School of Integrative Health Sciences provides some of the most affordable college programs in the nation. Billing is flexible and easy to budget. You are billed at the start of each academic quarter for the classes you will take during that quarter. Quarterly tuition is controlled by the number of credits you take each quarter, but total program tuition does not change.

To ensure that you remain unaffected by any tuition increases that may occur while you are a student at FSIHS, upon admission, you enter into a program agreement with the school. This program agreement confirms your graduation requirements and tuition totals. This agreement protects you from any tuition increases or program requirement changes that may take place while you are a student at FSIHS, ensuring that your budget and timeline are unaffected while you earn your diploma. The program agreement is valid as long as you remain a student in good standing at FSIHS. This is determined by adherence to attendance policies and our code of conduct.

Tuition is paid per class and is $315 per 30 contact hour class and $525 per 50 contact hour class. TOTAL TUITION (including fees) for the DipDSS is $5,775, paid in increments with each quarter’s registration.

Example Tuition Schedules:

Quarter 1 (110 contact hours): $1,155

Quarter 2 (110 contact hours): $1,155

Quarter 3 (110 contact hours): $1,155

Quarter 4 (110 contact hours): $1,155

Quarter 5 (110 contact hours): $1,155

TOTAL: $5,775

Quarter 1 (50 contact hours): $525

Quarter 2 (60 contact hours): $630

Quarter 3 (50 contact hours): $525

Quarter 4 (60 contact hours): $630

Quarter 5 (50 contact hours): $525

Quarter 6 (60 contact hours): $630

Quarter 7 (50 contact hours): $525

Quarter 8 (60 contact hours): $630

Quarter 9 (50 contact hours): $525

Quarter 10 (60 contact hours): $630

TOTAL: $5,775

*NOTE: Total course load is determined by your personal preference, your budget, your availability, and the availability of each class. This is a sample of a part time schedule assuming course availability and active student status for the entire duration of the program.

Tuition does not include costs associated with textbooks or supplies for required class projects. You will need to budget additional funds to cover the costs of materials you use to formulate your own botanical products and to purchase the textbooks required for completion of some courses. The cost for textbooks and fees can vary dramatically depending on your personal selections for your projects and your preferred textbook store. 

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The Future is Bright

Upon completion of a DipDSS, there are many potential employment and entrepreneurial opportunities. The herbalism and dietary supplement industry contributes over $60 billion to the U.S. economy each year, producing over 450,000 jobs from supply to manufacture to sales. Approximately 53% of Americans use herbal products regularly, further contributing to this lucrative job market.

According to the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the mean wage for related workers is $48,510, with an entry wage of $34,800 for this field.  Professionals who have an existing license in a medical field or are combining the DipDSS with a related profession see an increase in wage potential after earning a DipDSS. 

Careers with a DipDSS

Dietary Supplement Specialists operate private practices worldwide, offering personal consultations for clients. While the herbal and natural product industry is rapidly growing, accurate information on safe and appropriate use is lacking. A private consulting practice enables you to work directly with clients to provide them the education and empowerment they need to make safe and healthy decisions for their families through natural and herbal products.

Dietary Supplement Specialists also work for the natural products industry as a product consulting, providing valuable expertise in product safety and efficacy. Or develop and market your own line of custom formulated botanical products and dietary supplements.

If you already hold a license in a medical field, you can increase earning potential by adding a DipDSS to your existing credentials and turn your practice into an integrative profession. With over half of Americans currently using natural products, your patients will appreciate your mastery of additional expertise in this field.

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Learn More About the Program


Applicants must be 18 years of age or older with a minimum of a high school diploma or the equivalent. Students for whom English is not their first language will also be required to submit an English proficiency test to ensure ability to benefit. All applicants must submit official transcripts (issued directly from your previous college or high school), 2 letters of recommendation, and an admissions essay.

This program is open to professionals and aspiring professionals alike. It is ideal for current health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, nurses, and nurse practitioners, as well as health enthusiasts, doulas, trainers, and bloggers. Whether you are looking for a career change, to enhance your existing career, or to launch a new career, this program provides the academic foundation you need to thrive in the herbal products industry.

The Application Process

The Application process includes submission of the required materials, an admissions interview with Dr. Jessie Hawkins, and an orientation workshop, which can be completed online. A complete application includes several parts: the application itself, an admissions essay, two letters of recommendation, high school transcripts (these must) be sent to us directly from your secondary school, and college transcripts if you are applying for transfer credit.

The best way to get started is to begin compiling your admissions materials. Think about who may provide your letters of recommendation and begin requesting that your transcripts are sent to us from your previous schools. Then join us for an Open House, Admissions Webinar, or other event outlined above. Keep in mind that admissions typically takes 2-3 weeks, so if your desired program start date is approaching, you will want to reach out to admissions right away to discuss expedited admissions options.

Next Program Start Dates:

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Dr. Debiasi holds Doctorate of Nursing Practice and is licensed as a Registered Nurse and Family Nurse Practitioner. Her research interests include dietary supplement efficacy and international research on pediatric wellbeing.
Colby Baker holds a degree in Family Consumer Science, a Diploma in Culinary Arts, and a Diploma in Dietary Supplement Science. Her research interests include pediatric herbal medicine and aromatherapy.
Dr. Jessie Hawkins holds a PhD in Health Research with an academic emphasis on environmental health and epidemiology. Her research interests include clinical trials and meta-analyses on herbs, essential oils, and dietary supplements.


Learn more about your educational options, the admissions process, and how the Franklin School of Integrative Health Sciences can help you launch your natural health career.

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