What is a Naturopathic Doctor?
THE NATUROPATHIC MEDICAL EDUCATION
Naturopathic Doctors complete a 4-5 year, full-time, doctoral-level, scientific medical program at an accredited school. There are currently 7 accredited schools with 8 campus locations in the US and Canada. A degree from an accredited medical school is required for licensure by a state.
Naturopathic doctors complete a minimum of 4100 hours of class and clinical training. All doctors complete 2 years of hands-on supervised clinical training at the school’s teaching clinic as well as off-site clinics, and have optional residency opportunities after graduation. Students are educated in biomedical sciences as well as natural approaches to treatment. Prevention of disease and collaborative care is at the core of the training.
More About Naturopathic Training:
- Pre-medical undergraduate courses in physiology, biology, chemistry, physiology are required for entry into naturopathic medical school.
- The first few years of naturopathic medical school is similar to those of doctor of medicine (MD) and doctor of osteopathy (DO) programs, with comparable training hours in the basic medical sciences: anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, microbiology and immunology, pathology, pharmacology, and differential diagnosis.
- In addition to traditional medical training, considerable time is spent on courses in nutrition, botanical medicine (including extensive training in herb-drug-nutrient interactions), physical medicine (massage and spinal manipulation techniques), hydrotherapy, homeopathy, and counseling.
- Passing two rounds of standardized professional board exams is required before physician licensure. Each jurisdiction licensing NDs has structured laws governing the scope of practice, including time spent in continuing education yearly.
- Many naturopathic doctors choose to specialize in areas such as Endocrinology, Environmental Medicine, Gastroenterology, Pediatrics, Primary Care, Psychiatry, and Oncology, although all Naturopathic Doctors have comprehensive Family Medicine/General Medicine training.