If you have questions about careers and education in naturopathy, you can find the answers here!
Naturopathic schools teach basic medical science with a strong emphasis on holistic health. Licensed Naturopathic Physicians (ND) complete a four-year program at the graduate level. Areas studied may include nutrition therapy, acupuncture, homeopathic medicine, natural childbirth, and herbal/botanical medicine. Licensure is obtained after passing accredited board exams (sometimes at the state level).
Students also complete courses in traditional medicine, including biochemistry, gynecology, pathology, dermatology, pediatrics, clinical laboratory, and more. Students learn about historical approaches to healing that have been practiced for probably the whole of human existence. Naturopathy focuses on getting at the causes of disease, instead of merely treating the symptoms. Most programs include clinical practice so that students get hands-on training. To enter and advance in clinical training, students usually have to pass rigorous exams to prove that they are ready to advance.
When choosing a school, it is important to look for an accredited program, because a degree from such a program will allow you to work within the health care system of the United States. Schools and physicians in these programs adhere to national standards of care that are constantly being revised to bring patients the latest in natural care. One accrediting agency is the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME). Students graduating from an approved program are eligible to apply for licensing exams given by the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners.
The field is growing quickly as more people seek alternative treatments for their ailments. Naturopathy can be used in combination with traditional treatments, and ND's can even be primary care physicians in some states. One of the main focuses of naturopathy is the prevention of disease - an overall wellness approach that has been somewhat overlooked by modern medicine but which is widely recognized as the best way to lead a quality life.
Doctors in Naturalistic Medicine generally do not participate in major surgery, administer x-rays, or prescribe drugs (except drugs that are compounds or elements from human tissues and are therefore compatible with the practice).
Like other medical programs, undergraduates interested in graduate-level ND programs should have several credits from chemistry, botany, biology, etc. A pre-med degree is a good idea - but it's not necessary.