Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are primary care physicians who are qualified to diagnose, treat, and prevent illnesses. A naturopathic medicine degree from an accredited university is needed for NDs. They are professionally qualified diagnosticians who concentrate on the least invasive and toxic treatments to treat the root causes of infection and to help the body’s natural capacity to fight disease. Using modern medical research and natural remedies, naturopathic doctors treat chronic health conditions like diabetes, obesity, asthma, and heart disease. Nutritional counseling, botanical medicine, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, and minor surgery are some of the medical interventions.
A four-year, professional-level program at a federally approved naturopathic medical school is required before becoming a licensed naturopathic doctor. You must take and pass the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Exam after graduation (NPLEX). Basic sciences, diagnostic and therapeutic topics, and clinical sciences are all included in this test.
Steps To Become a Naturopathic Doctor
- Get a Bachelor’s Degree in a Relevant Field
A bachelor’s degree is required of all aspiring medical practitioners before they can enroll in any medical school. There is no requirement for a particular degree area, but the student’s bachelor’s degree program should include prerequisite courses in chemistry, biochemistry, anatomy, physiology, and cellular biology, as well as all labs aligned with these programs.
You may study a variety of majors to prepare for a career in holistic or naturopathic medicine. History in medicine, naturopathy, nutrition, and herbology are some examples of degrees you might pursue.
- Obtain a medical degree from a school that has been approved by the state.
If you choose to work in one of the states that license naturopathic doctors, you should earn a specialized degree in a clinical practice approved by the state where you intend to practice. Medicine, chiropractic, Oriental or traditional Chinese medicine, osteopathic medicine, or another known discipline are examples of these disciplines. A medical degree takes an average of four years to finish, with residency requirements ranging from two to six years, depending on the medical specialty.
- Education Requirements for Naturopathic Physicians
Students must complete a four-year graduate-level program approved by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education in order to be certified as a Doctor of Naturopathy (ND) or Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (NMD) (also known as a naturopathy degree or a naturopathy doctor degree). The first two years of a naturopathic medical degree are identical to the first two years of conventional medical school. Biomedical sciences are included in the first year, while diagnostic sciences are covered in the second. For the first two years, naturopathic students also study holistic approaches to body structures and naturopathic methods.
- The Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations must be passed (NPLEX)
Individuals with an NMD or ND degree should pass the NPLEX before having the state licensure exam after graduating. Effective fulfillment of an accredited naturopathic doctor degree program, as well as completing the NPLEX test, are prerequisites for certification. For a year, the qualification is valid. The NMD/ND must obtain 20 hours of required continuing education per year in order to re-certify.
- Comply with Naturopathic Physician Licensure Requirements in Your State
The conditions for NMD/ND licensure differ by jurisdiction. Applicants must have graduated from an accredited school, send fingerprints and pass a criminal background check, be free of mental health or drug abuse problems, and pass either the NPLEX test or a state-sponsored naturopathic medicine exam. In states where naturopathic doctors are not licensed, NDs/NMDs typically hold another advanced health care degree and accompanying state-recognized license, which they use to provide naturopathic services to its clients.
- Involve yourself in a Naturopathic Physician Residency Program.
Some naturopathic doctors want to undertake a residency program after graduation. While naturopathic residencies are not mandatory in most states, they provide valuable experience and help to improve skills. To obtain more comprehensive hands-on practice in naturopathic medicine, many new graduates train with or shadow an experienced ND for a year or two in place of a residency. These benefits give naturopathic doctors an advantage in the job market.
About the Authors
Society’s Voice advocates for Naturopathic treatments for a variety of physical and mental disabilities. Naturopathic medicine is a distinct system of primary health care that emphasizes prevention and the self-healing process through the use of natural therapies. We know that the efficacy of naturopathic medicine dates back to the 1890s, and are heartened to see naturopathic medicine undergo a rapid increase in public interest in recent years as a result of the growing consumer movement to solve the healthcare puzzle using prevention, wellness and respect for nature’s inherent healing ability.
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