Only the Naturopathic Doctors that receive training at an accredited school can be licensed physicians. Having a license to practice medicine gives Naturopathic Doctors the ability to prescribe, diagnose, and treat medical conditions in the states where their licensing is regulated.
Not all Naturopaths are medically-trained. Some naturopathic programs are completely or partially offered online requiring no medical training. To be sure your naturopathic doctor has been medically trained they must have attended a four-year, post bachelor, accredited naturopathic medical school.
Naturopathic physicians undergo training that is similar in structure and scope to that of medical and osteopathic doctors. Naturopathic medical colleges are four-year graduate schools with rigorous admissions requirements comparable to other medical schools. The Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND) degree is awarded after classroom, clinic, and practical study. The training also includes extensive study of naturopathic philosophy and therapeutics.
Because coursework in natural therapeutics is added to a standard medical curriculum, naturopathic doctors receive significantly more hours of classroom education in these areas than the graduates of many leading medical schools.
In addition to classroom education, Naturopathic Physicians are also required to complete extensive clinical and practical training before being awarded a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND or NMD) degree. Naturopathic graduates must then pass national board exams in order to receive a license to practice medicine.
Although Naturopathic Doctors are trained to prescribe pharmaceutical drugs and are as educated in pharmacology as MDs are, they emphasize the use of natural healing agents that restore the body to its original healthy state.
In addition, many Naturopathic Doctors have acquired further training and may offer treatments in other specialty areas. Naturopathic Doctors refer patients to other medical doctors, surgeons, and other specialists when appropriate.
Medically-trained Naturopathic Doctors work in:
- private practices
- community health centers
- teaching institutions
Depending on the state, NDs treat everyone from infants and children to the geriatric population and every type of medical condition from colds, flus, allergies, and infections to chronic diseases such as autoimmune diseases, endocrine disorders, cancer prevention, reproductive concerns, chronic pain, and much more.