Complementary and Alternative Medicine/
A naturopathic doctor (ND) practices a form of medicine that blends centuries-old, natural, non-toxic therapies with current advances in the study of health and human systems. Naturopathic medicine covers all aspects of family health from prenatal to geriatric care, with a special focus on whole-patient wellness.
NDs tailor their treatment protocols to suit each patient as an individual, placing a strong emphasis upon prevention and self-care. Naturopathic medicine is based upon six fundamental principles:
Graduates from accredited naturopathic medical schools are eligible to practice in any state in which they meet the licensing or state requirements. In some states, ND graduates are required to pass rigorous professional board exams in order to be licensed as primary care general practice physicians. Only graduates from CNME-accredited naturopathic medical schools are eligible to sit for the professional board exams in licensed states and provinces.
Naturopathic physicians collaborate with all other branches of medical science, referring patients to conventional healthcare practitioners for diagnosis or treatment when appropriate.
The prospects for making a prosperous living in this field are excellent for the foreseeable future. Naturopathic medicine continues to gain acceptance and recognition throughout the U.S. and in Canada.
You can download, save and print a PDF of this career profile:
Naturopathic Doctor 16 May 2008 [pdf, 171 KB]
Some NDs establish and operate their own private practices, while others choose to work for an integrative medical clinic. Some NDs become research scientists, natural pharmacists, public health administrators, consultants to industry or insurance companies, or advisors to other health care professionals. The work environments and professional options are as wide-ranging for NDs as they are for any MD or DO.
Part 1: How to Attend College Without Going into Too Much Debt
Federal Versus Private Loans: Do Your Homework!
Criminal Background Check? But, I’m Not A Criminal!
Questions to Ask Before Making a Financial Investment in Your Health Sciences Education
The Impact of Private Loans on Choice of Repayment Strategy
Do’s and Don’ts When Applying to College (Part I)
How to Finance Your Health Sciences Education
Accreditation Matters: (Part I)
Applying for Financial Aid (Part II)
Are You Credit Ready and Credit Worthy?
Why Diversity Matters in the Health Professions
Start preparing for your health career in high school
The Power of Prevention
Reconciliation Act of 2010 Includes Significant Student Aid Provisions
Healthcare Reform 101
Licensed naturopathic physicians have attended four-year, professional-level programs at accredited institutions, where they have been educated in the same basic sciences as allopathic and osteopathic physicians.
For admission into most naturopathic medicine programs, students must have a bachelor of science degree, including three years of pre-medical studies. The ND curriculum is comparable to that of any major allopathic or osteopathic medical school. In fact, some naturopathic medical schools require more hours of basic and clinical science than do top allopathic or osteopathic medical schools.
Pre-requisites include college-level courses in physics, biology, and general and organic chemistry. Coursework in mathematics and psychology courses also may be required. In addition, an applicant’s standing is strengthened if s/he has taken courses in anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, botany, and/or developmental psychology.
Naturopathic medical schools look for applicants who are intelligent, curious and capable of high-level critical thinking, yet also intuitive, flexible and imaginative. In addition, applicants must have certain internal qualities, such as empathy, integrity, perseverance, and a strong belief in the efficacy of natural medicine.
For more information on accredited programs in naturopathic medicine, see the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Schools website.
Search for funding opportunities related to this career
Search for enrichment programs related to this career
Search for academic degree and certificate programs related to this career
Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Last updated: March 10, 2014
©2012 American Dental Education Association