Dr. Petley’s Herb Apprenticeship

A 3-Year Herbal Study with Dr. Nate Petley

Milky Oat Tops

Dr. Petley’s Herb Apprenticeship focuses on both traditional and modern herbalism.  The program is suitable for those looking to gain a deeper respect for the power of herbs, those aspiring to become a practicing herbalist, those working in the health care field who would like to expand their knowledge of botanical medicine, and those looking to start an herbal product business.  Dr. Petley’s Herb Apprenticeship is divided into three years: Essential Herbalism, Applied Herbalism, and Clinical Herbalism.  Each year builds on the previous but students are not required to commit to all three years at once.  Visit the short videos available on YouTube: Dr. Petley’s Herb Apprenticeship Trailer, Dr. Petley’s Herb Apprenticeship 2017, Herb Apprenticeship 2017, Become an Herbalist, Be the Change.


This event is designed to celebrate all students taking part in Dr. Petley’s Herb Apprenticeship. The event will be a private celebration and only open to current students via Zoom. Typically, Festival of Herbalists is optional for those enrolled in and finishing up any year of Dr. Petley’s Herb Apprenticeship to create herbal products and experience selling them in a marketplace setting. Prospective students are encouraged to attend in order to chat with current students and hear their stories.  Click here for details.

Schedule 2025:

Essential Herbalism 2025 Classes run the second Saturday of every month from February to November. Some classes will be held at Maine Center for Natural Health in Waterville, Maine, but most classes will be held outdoors in Oakland, Maine to take advantage of teaching gardens, wild and cultured plant material, and fresh air. Enrollment is OPEN! Click here.

Enrollment for Applied Herbalism 2026. Classes will run the Sunday following the second Saturday of every month from February to November. Applied Herbalism will be held both at Dr. Petley’s Teaching Gardens in Oakland, Maine and offered online through Zoom. Prerequisite: Essential Herbalism.

Clinical Herbalism 2027: Students will meet once to twice a month both online via Zoom and at Dr. Petley’s Teaching Gardens in Oakland, Maine. The schedule will be decided upon by registered students and run from February to November in 2024.

Clinical Herbalism Advanced Topics: These classes will be run sporadically and open to graduates of Dr. Petley’s 3-year Herb Apprenticeship.

Classes will be held at Dr. Petley’s Teaching Gardens in Oakland, Maine and via Zoom when appropriate. The address will be provided to students upon registration. Class dates and location may shift at times depending on snow days, holidays, and class agreement.

Class Descriptions:

Oatstraw TeaEssential Herbalism is a 10-month herb apprenticeship that meets the second Saturday of every month from February to November. Enrolled students are introduced to the foundations of herbal medicine through hands-on lectures and class discussions.  Each class will focus on herbal preparations (including extracts made from water, oil, alcohol, vinegar, and vegetable glycerin) and ideal herbs, along with special topics like plant identification, wildcrafting, scope of practice, essential oils, plant energetics, flower essences, healing foods, etc.  Click here for detailed topics included in Essential Herbalism.

Applied Herbalism is a 10-month herb apprenticeship that meets the second Sunday of every month from February to November.  This is year two in Dr. Petley’s herb apprenticeship program where he leads students who have taken Essential Herbalism to start applying herbalism in daily lives.  Each class will focus on different systems of the body including anatomy, physiology and pathology along with exemplary herbs and formulas for addressing common conditions.  Special topics include advanced medicinal preparations, dosing, and herbal formulating. Click here for detailed topics included in Applied Herbalism.

Clinical Herbalism is a 10-month herb apprenticeship that meets twice a month from February to November.  This is year three in Dr. Petley’s herb apprenticeship and is open to students who have taken both Essential Herbalism and Applied Herbalism.  Enrolled students gain clinical experience and confidence while seeing live case studies in conjunction with learning advanced health topics such as understanding basic labs, herb-drug interactions, and plant contraindications.  There will also be a detailed review of the scope of practice for herbalists. This class includes monthly write ups and reviewing case studies.

Clinical Herbalism Advanced Topics offers graduates of Dr. Petley’s 3-year Herb Apprenticeship a selection of advanced topics in order t keep up with the changing times.  Each four-hour elective course meets throughout the year and focuses on advanced topics ranging from adaptogens (a detailed look), underutilized Maine herbs, tongue diagnostics, the use of low-dose herbs, vitamins and minerals, intro to TCM/Ayurveda, and various electives to satisfy the interest of the students. Classes and topics will be scheduled based on student demand. Each class is offered online via Zoom utilizing PowerPoint presentations and handouts.


MilkweedEach year costs $2000.  Enrollment requires a non-refundable deposit of $300 to reserve a space in the apprenticeship program (applied to the tuition).  Students may choose to pay monthly via automatic withdrawal ($170 x 10 +$300 enrollment fee = $2000) or all at once by the start of the first class ($1450 +$300 enrollment fee = $1750, for a savings of $250).  Automatic withdrawals will be made on the Friday before each class unless prior payment arrangements are made.


Class enrollment is available online (www.drpetley.com) and in person.  The remainder of the tuition can be paid in person via credit card, check, or cash if paying the full tuition by the start of the first class.  These payment options are still available to those who choose to pay monthly if arrangements are made prior to the automatic withdrawal that occurs on the Friday before each class.

Enrollment may be cancelled for any reason before the start of the first class and payments will be refunded minus the enrollment fee.  After the start date, students not wishing to continue will forfeit the enrollment fee plus any prepaid tuition for classes in which the student participated at the rate of $170 per class.  Otherwise, students are still required to pay for classes they miss and class notes and materials will be made available.  Do not register for this program if you cannot commit to attending every class.

Additional Information:

OreganoDr. Petley reserves the right to cancel a student’s participation in the program.  Please contact Dr. Petley if you have any questions before enrolling in the herb apprenticeship program.  Enrolled students are encouraged to study herbs outside of the herb apprenticeship program and will receive a discount on many other classes taught by Dr. Petley at Maine Center for Natural Health (some exclusions may apply) during the year they are enrolled in a program.  These may be viewed as electives and include materia medica, soap making, medical astrology, herb of the month, herbal medicine making, etc.

Outside reading, homework, and projects are expected between classes so the student not only learns in class but practices the art of herbalism.  This may take an estimated 3-5 hours per week.  Although there are no required books for the program, students will be encouraged to purchase a few herbal texts to enhance their apprenticeship experience, along with herbs and ingredients for home projects.  A detailed book list will be published.  Dr. Petley will help organize bulk sales for both books and ingredients, when available.  Students can expect monthly costs to be $25+ depending on what they have available, what they choose to wildcraft, etc. 

For outside of the class communication, students are encouraged to email Dr. Petley with questions. He will establish a private Groups.io email-based meeting space so students can post questions, comments, or photos of their projects. There will also be an opportunity to join Dr. Petley in live Q&A video feeds scheduled once a month between classes where students are encouraged to ask questions that might arise from class, outside reading, or projects.

We are often asked where to source quality organic alcohol for tinctures and other herbal products. Here is our source (and a link for 10% off your order!) and best of all, it’s from Maine!  Go to https://culinarysolvent.com/drpetley. Use coupon code drpetley. 

For a list of Frequently Asked Questions, click here.

For student and patient testimonials, click here.