Training of Naturopathic Doctors
Naturopathic Doctors (ND) are primary care physicians who specialize in natural therapies. They hold a holistic and integrative approach to medicine. They analyze symptoms by taking into consideration the physical, psychological, emotional, environmental, and genetic aspect of an individual.
All licensed and regulated Naturopathic Doctors who graduate from one of the 7 accredited naturopathic medical schools in north America, has undergone medical training in disease assessment, diagnosis, and conventional treatments. In addition to their conventional medical training, the 6 core principles of naturopathic medicine is engrained and entrenched within their training. Naturopathic doctors are physicians who are trained in the same basic medical sciences, assessments, diagnosis and treatments as any medical doctor (MD), but with the approach to disease using the philosophy and treatments of naturopathic medicine. This has given rise to a true integrative approach to medicine.
A licensed naturopathic physician (naturopathic doctor) has attended a four-year doctoral program at an accredited naturopathic medical school. In order to be considered for admission to a naturopathic medical school, candidates must complete undergraduate premedical prerequisites at a recognized University. A Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine degree (ND) is awarded upon completion of rigorous medical academic and clinical work of a four-year naturopathic doctoral program. The education for an ND includes the same basic medical sciences as a medical doctor (MD). However, in addition to basic medicine, the curriculum for an ND also includes focused training in clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, psychology, counseling, homeopathic medicine, TCM and acupuncture, physical medicine, and naturopathic philosophy.
During naturopathic medical training, all candidates must pass the naturopathic medical board exams (NPLEX). These are standardized medical board exams administered across north America by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME). The professional board exams are taken in two parts, NPLEX Part I and II. The NPLEX Part I is taken following the completion of the basic medical science curriculum while in naturopathic medical school and NPLEX Part II is taken after graduation once naturopathic clinical training has been completed.
Licensed and board certified Naturopathic Doctors are regulated by strict medical licensing and regulation boards that holds each physician accountable for maintaining best practices established within the profession. Each physician is also accountable for malpractice by his/her board.
Naturopathic Doctors either work alone in a clinical setting, referring to chiropractors, massage therapists, alternative CAM specialty practitioners, or medical family physicians when needed; or alternatively work in a multi-disciplinary medical practice that incorporates a system of specialty physicians. They work in hospitals, medical schools, government and nutraceutical development. Every naturopathic doctor aims to contribute to medical research within their own clinical setting. A licensed Naturopathic physician is trained and board certified to provide holistic adjunctive and/or primary medical care.