Becoming a Homeopathic Doctor
Homeopathy is a form of alternative medicine used by different kinds of practitioners. Remedies utilized by homeopathic doctors may include essential oils, herbs and compounds, tinctures, massage, aromatherapy, or even acupuncture.
As with most medical professionals, homeopathic doctors have the opportunity to help people feel better in their bodies and the emotional rewards of being able to do so are often great. Not all cases end happily, however, and there is stress and emotional investment associated with this career. Homeopathic doctors often are self-employed and developing a patient base may be difficult. Many doctors are able to command high salaries, though hours may be long and irregular.
A Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) is required to become a homeopathic doctor, as is official licensure and experience in the field of health care. Listening, critical thinking, decision-making and complex problem solving skills are also needed. A service oriented attitude and familiarity with a variety of different software applications is also useful. Once a career is officially begun, homeopathic doctors command a median annual salary akin to that of most other doctors, which is $187,200 as of 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In order to become a homeopathic doctor, prospective physicians could complete five main steps.
- Obtain a bachelor's degree
- Take the Medical College Admission Test, or MCAT
- Attend medical school
- Become licensed
- Become certified
Obtaining a Bachelor's Degree
Graduating from a college or university with a bachelor's degree is generally considered a prerequisite for admission to medical schools. While some students focus on a pre-medical curriculum in college, others major in a variety of other subjects. As long as certain prerequisites are met, medical schools usually are open to considering students with any educational background. Prerequisites include completion of specific math, science and humanities courses and completion of a bachelor's degree program with a certain GPA.
Taking the MCAT
The MCAT is the standard exam for admission into medical schools. Osteopathic schools often require MCAT scores as well. Naturopathic schools generally do not require the MCAT but medical schools usually require a certain score for admission. Keep in mind that study guides and test preparation materials are recommended and widely available.
Attending Medical School
Homeopathic doctors have varying backgrounds. Some are medical doctors while others are naturopaths, doctors of osteopathy or chiropractors. Schooling usually takes a minimum of four years to complete. However, many MD programs end up lasting eight years with the residency and/or internship requirements. Naturopathic medicine programs contain much of the same curricula as medical schools, with the inclusion of alternative medical practices, such as homeopathy.
All physicians in the U.S. are required to be licensed. Both MDs and DOs, who must first finish residencies, are eligible for licensure after passing exams. MDs need to pass the Medical Licensing Examination and DOs must pass the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination. After completing training at a naturopathic medical school in states that require licensure, naturopaths will need to pass the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Exam.
According to the National Institutes of Health, there is no uniform licensing or certification standard for homeopathic doctors other than being licensed to practice medicine. Laws vary from state to state with specific licensure of homeopathic doctors being available in Connecticut, Nevada and Arizona. Other states allow doctors to practice homeopathy with full disclosure of their training and background.
National certification in homeopathy, recognized among many alternative health practitioners, is available through several organizations, including the American Board of Homeotherapeutics at the American Institute of Homeopathy. Founded in 1959, this organization grants diplomate status to medical and osteopathic doctors via oral and written examination. In order to gain this certification, individuals must complete at least 150 credit hours of homeopathic education courses and have documentation of their completion. They must also have 10 treated chronic cases ready for presentation at least two months before taking the required exam.
It's also recommended that prospective homeopathic doctors take continuing education courses. In order to keep the diplomate status, individuals must complete at least 30 hours of continuing education classes in homeopathy every three years.
To become a homeopathic doctor, you must obtain a bachelor's degree, take the MCAT, attend medical school, and earn licensure and certification.