​​​Advanced Program Overview

All classes will be held in real-time online using Zoom. 

Our Advanced Herbalism in the Vitalist Tradition Program prepares the herbalist for becoming a clinical practitioner in the field of Vitalist Herbalism. Students will learn how to complete a full length client intake, perform a deep level case investigation by applying vitalist assessment skills and case analysis techniques. Students will practice the art of how to apply natural therapeutics and advanced herbalism, and gain critical insights to perform subsequent follow up visits with a client for long term health transformations. This includes the necessary technical skills to write up a case for peer review and faculty feedback in a clinical setting.

This program will feature Paul Bergner as our primary instructor. Students will receive direct experience under his professional guidance in our live online classroom. While Paul's work is known worldwide and access to his teachings are available in a number of schools around the globe, this program offers a unique expression of his works. His 50 years of accumulated knowledge have been refined bringing a heightened skillset to the development of becoming a professional herbalist. He has trained more than 400 clinical herbalists since 1996.

We use a flipped classroom model in this program. Students will listen to Paul Bergner's recorded lectures as homework and then come to class where students will participate in exercises and discussions that provide valuable first hand experience with practical applications in case assessment, clinical skills, therapeutic approaches, and the art of developing client practitioner relationships. The flipped curriculum offers a higher retention of learning while gaining insight from shared experiences and faculty feedback.

Heather Luna has been a student of Paul Bergner for 20 years. She will facilitate the classroom setting and provide her own experience of having applied the principles of these teachings in clinical practice for two decades. She is the student advocate, administrative director, the one who will be grading homework, and point person for class management.

Class Topics Include

  • Advanced Natural Therapeutics
  • Vitalist Approaches to Chronic Illness
  • Physiology and Pathophysiology
  • Clinical Nutrition
  • Advanced Medicine Making
  • Nature Cure practices
  • Clinical Skills for the Practicing Herbalist


Academic Commitment

This program offers a rigorous study in the field of Clinical Herbalism. While class time is held live only 5 hours a week (excluding clinic hours), homework and independent study hours average about 8 hours a week.  A 90% class attendance and a completion of all program assignments is required in order to graduate.  

Class Schedule

1st Day of Class: August 17, 2020

Last Day of Class: May 24, 2021

Class meets online once a week on Mondays from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm. We will take a 1 hour lunch break from 1 - 2 pm. You will also need to attend one 2 hour shift during our Community Free Clinic held online on the second Saturday of each month (from September to May). Our Free Clinic is a free service to the public. 


This program has prerequisite requirement of a minimum of 400 hours of training in Foundational Herbalism, having attended our Footprints in Medical Herbalism program or the equivalent. If you are not certain that your previous training qualifies you for our Advanced Program please contact the school to inquire. 

Advanced Herbalism in the Vitalist Tradition


Total Cost: $4100

  • Tuition: $3200
  • Course Materials: $900

Deposit of $950 is due by 8/10/20

This deposit holds your place in the program and covers the Course Materials fee. The deposit is non-refundable. The deposit does count towards your tuition total. We will send you an invoice with links to pay this amount after you are accepted into the program. 

Monthly Payment Plan

$950 deposit due by August 10, 2020 + 9 monthly payments of $350. Custom payments plans are available upon request, please contact ACORN directly to inquire. See chart below.

We are excited to announce our first Advanced Herbalism Program!

This program is open to all graduates of the Footprints in Medical Herbalism Program

338.5 total hours

175 class hours + 16 clinic hours + 147.5 independent study hours certified by NAIMH

General Enrollment Information

  • Prospective students must fill out an application for enrollment.
  • You must have previous herbal education & training to apply (see Prerequisites above).  
  • There is a non-refundable $50 application fee. This fee is waived for all graduates of ACORN & NAIMH. 
  • Once applications are accepted there is a deposit required to hold your place in the program. 
  • You must be 18 years of age or older to attend classes. 
  • Application & Deposit Due Date: 8/10/20

Course Materials

The Advanced Program Course Materials is a data drive of all the required materials for the program. These materials come on a large capacity flash drive and include: audio recorded lectures with Paul Bergner, notes and slides to accompany each lesson, data files, clinic forms, and PDF text references. The cost of the Course Materials is covered in the deposit and is non-refundable.

Field Classes

Field Classes are held within our Footprints Class Schedule. These classes are open to Advanced Program students to drop in as they choose at no extra cost. These are not a required part of this program. All in person Field Classes will be socially distanced. Video recorded Field Classes will be made available to our distance learners or those who cannot attend in person. As a student you will receive a monthly email with upcoming Field Class dates and information.  

Field Classes include: medicinal and edible plant walks, plant identification, harvesting ethics and techniques, fresh plant medicine making, plant communication exercises, sustainability and cultivation, and strategies for building deeper relationships with Nature as key aspects for facilitating healing work. 

Application Fee $50.00
(one-time payment)

How To Apply

  • Read the Advanced Program Handbook (see link below)
  • Complete the Application Form:
    • You can fill out the Application digitally and save it to your computer. 
    • You can also print the form and fill it out by hand.
  • Required Documentation:
    • MAIL: Please make photo copies of your Required Documentation.
    • EMAIL: You can scan or take a picture of the Required Documentation and email that as an attachment.
  • Application Fee of $50.00:
    • MAIL: You can mail a check or money order to our PO Box.
    • ONLINE: You can pay via PayPal using the payment button below.
  • Submit your completed Application and Required Documentation:
    • MAIL: Send completed application & required documentation to our PO Box.
    • EMAIL: Fill out the application file digitally, save it and email it as an attachment. You can also take a picture of the application filled out by hand and email it as an attachment.
  • Acceptance: Within 7-14 days you will receive an email from us about your acceptance.
  • Questions? Please contact Heather Luna, ACORN Director with any additional questions or concerns.​ 

Please note: Applications will not be processed until the application fee is submitted.

ACORN School of Herbal Medicine
PO Box 1664
Nevada City, CA 95959

COVID-19 Update for the Advanced Program 2020-21

We will utilize video conferencing for classes and other creative digital ways to help you learn from the comfort and safety of your home. 

  • Regular classes: All classes will be held in real-time online using Zoom. We want to replicate the in-person classroom environment as much as possible so we can grow and connect as a group. Recorded videos will be available for missed online classes only.
  • Free Clinic Days: We will still be hosting our monthly Community Free Clinic, but now it will be scheduled Zoom meetings. You will gain all the necessary experience with case studies and the application of herbs by participating in Free Clinic sessions.

Click on the calendar above for a printable version