Naturopathic: Getting Started Guide

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A naturopathic health education gives you the tools to bring healing and peace to others. Through the use of herbs, counseling and other methods, you'll embrace naturopathy as a career and lifestyle.



Naturopathy is rooted in tradition, but the practice is an integral part of today’s health care field. You’ll heal others using a holistic approach and non-toxic treatments.

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Naturopathic programs focus on disease prevention and overall health. Expect a diverse curriculum with classes ranging from biochemistry to botanical medicine.

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Learn More About Your Naturopathic Journey


To become a naturopathic doctor, you'll need to attend naturopathic school for four years (in addition to undergraduate classes). Not only will you learn about holistic treatments, but you'll also be taught about Western medicine. The good news is NDs are in demand; more patients are leaning toward natural health approaches for primary health care. If you're compassionate, a strong proponent for naturopathic medicine, and find fulfillment in helping others feel better, consider an ND career.

Many of your job duties will overlap with those of a medical doctor. You'll gather information from a patient, understand their condition or symptoms and devise a treatment plan. The fork in the road occurs when you prescribe natural remedies whereas an MD will rely on prescription drugs or surgery. If you're looking for autonomy in your career, opening your own practice can provide it.

In some states, you'll need to complete a one-year residency once you've completed your coursework. ND residencies are usually set up in clinics, family practices and mental health clinics. If you're looking for a specific type of experience, such as community health, research the schools that are more apt to place students in the setting of your choice. It can be competitive; most schools only have a few spots open each year.

Need-to-Know School and Career Facts


Unlike medical doctors, naturopathic doctors aren’t regulated in all 50 states. As the field grows in popularity and gains more recognition, you can expect more states to sign legislation that would require naturopathic doctors to be licensed.

Currently, about one-third of the country has regulations related to naturopathic doctors.

Professional certification is available from the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners (NABNE). Once you graduate and pass national exams, you’ll earn Doctor Licensure.

If you’re interested in professional certification, the American Naturopathic Certification Board offers two types of credentials: Certified Traditional Naturopath and Certified in Nutritional Wellness.

Even though naturopathy is recognized as an effective health treatment, patients may not know what to look for in an ND. Having certification signifies that you’ve been educated in the field and have passed exams that test your naturopathic doctor skills. This can bring peace of mind to a patient.

Finding an accredited naturopathic school may take a little bit of searching. Right now, there are only seven schools in the country which have been granted accreditation.

The Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME) is the accrediting agency which evaluates naturopathic schools and programs. As a student, you can be assured that accredited schools offer a comprehensive curriculum that thoroughly prepares students for a career in naturopathy.