Should I Become 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 acupunture.
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.
|Degree Level||Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathy is required|
|Licensure and Certification||Licensure is required for all doctors|
|Experience||Experience in health care is required|
|Key Skills||Active listening, critical thinking, science, speaking, judgment and decision making, complex problem solving, service orientation, and active learning skills, familiarity with accounting software, information retrieval or search software, label-making software, medical software, and spreadsheet software|
|Salary (2015)||$71,336 yearly (median for naturopathic physicians)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and O*Net Online, PayScale.com
Step 1: Obtain 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.
Step 2: Take the Medical College Admission Test (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.
Step 3: Attend Medical School
Homeopathic doctors have varying backgrounds. Some are medical doctors (MD) while others are naturopaths, doctors of osteopathy or chiropractors. Schooling usually takes a minimum of four years to complete for any of these types of degrees. However, many MD programs end up lasting eight years with the residency or internship requirement. Naturopathic medicine programs contain much of the same curricula as medical schools, with the inclusion of alternative medical practices (homeopathy being one of them).
Step 4: Become Licensed
All physicians in the U.S. are required to be licensed. Both MDs and Doctors of Osteopathy (DO), who must first finish residencies, are eligible for licensure after passing exams. MDs need to pass the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). DOs must pass the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX-USA). After completing training at a naturopathic medical school in states that require licensure, naturopaths will need to pass the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Exam (NPLEX).
Step 5: Become Certified
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; licensure of homeopathic doctors is 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.
- 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.