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Doctor of Naturopathy: Degree Overview

Only a few U.S. colleges and universities offer doctor of naturopathy degrees. Students learn holistic medical treatments, with coursework often involving medical laws and ethics, science-based subjects, health evaluation, diagnosing and healing methods.

Essential Information

A doctor of naturopathy degree program teaches students to use holistic medical practices for physical, mental and spiritual healing of their patients. This whole-body approach to medicine encompasses alternative healing methods such as Chinese medicine, aromatherapy, homeopathic remedies, acupuncture, herbs, and massage. Only about a third of U.S. states permit naturopathic doctors to practice medicine.

  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree, science background, sometimes medical field experience
  • Career Licensure: Contingent upon state laws

Doctorate in Naturopathy Degree

Curriculum of a naturopathy doctorate program includes classroom, laboratory and clinical study. Clinical study usually occurs in the last two years of a program and involves working with and observing naturopathy practitioners. To enter a naturopathy program, students typically need a bachelor's degree with a minimum grade point average. Prerequisite coursework, including biology, chemistry, psychology and physics, is often necessary, with some schools also requiring candidates to have experience in the medical field. Schools may give preference to applicants who have some prior knowledge about naturopathy. Course topics may include:

  • Anatomy and biochemistry
  • Oriental medicine
  • Naturopathy history
  • Natural medicine philosophy
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Patient counseling

Popular Career Options

Graduates of a naturopathy doctoral program may work as naturopathy doctors if they work in a state that recognizes the practice. In the U.S., 16 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands recognize and grant licenses to these professionals, according to the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP). The AANP stated that naturopathic doctors acquire the mandatory licensure after completing an accredited 4-year residential naturopathy doctoral program and passing an exam. Renewal is mandatory to keep the license valid.

In other states, graduates can't work under the Doctor of Naturopathy (ND) title, but may qualify for work as other health professionals.

Possible job options include naturopathic physician, general practitioner, massage therapist, natural medicine spokesperson, and corporate wellness administrator.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics groups naturopathic physicians under 'health diagnosing and treating practitioners, all other.' These individuals earned an average annual wage of $85,050 in 2014. The projected job outlook for all health diagnosing and treating practitioners was 20% from 2012-2022.

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