Education and Training

Naturopathic doctors are trained to serve as primary care doctors and, depending on jurisdiction, can provide full medical care including ordering labs and diagnostic imaging.  Currently, 19 states (including California), the District of Columbia, as well as Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands license naturopathic doctors as primary care providers.

To become a naturopathic doctor, you must attend a four year, resident (onsite classes, not online) naturopathic medical school accredited by the Council for Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME) and approved by the Department of Education.  Naturopathic doctors receive over 4,300 hours of training in the basic medical sciences, conventional medicine, clinical training and cutting-edge natural therapeutics.  Required basic science and clinical training courses are comparable to conventional medical school including anatomy, physiology, microbiology, immunology, biochemistry, histology, pathology, clinical and physical diagnosis, and laboratory and diagnostic imaging.  In addition to the basic medical training, an ND receives extensive training in nutrition, homeopathy, botanical medicine, counseling, and natural manipulation therapy.  The last three years of naturopathic medical school focus on the use of natural therapeutics and remedies while concurrently treating patients in the clinic under a doctor’s supervision.  This includes over 1,000 hours of direct patient contact.

Once the required coursework and clinical training has been completed and the student receives their Doctorate in Naturopathic medicine, they are eligible to sit for the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examination (NPLEX).  This is the naturopathic equivalent to the USMLE (U.S. Medical Licensing Examination) board exam given to medical doctors.  To be a licensed Naturopathic Doctor, the student must pass the NPLEX and complete annual continuing education coursework.

Following is a list of accredited Naturopathic Medical Schools in North America:

Bastyr University
Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine
Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine
National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM)
Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine
University of Bridgeport