Doctoral degree programs in natural health typically culminate in a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, a degree that allows you to pursue multiple career opportunities in health care and alternative medicine. These degrees aren't usually offered online, though some classes - like electives - may be available for distance learners. Hands-on clinical experiences are likely to be a requirement of such programs. To enroll, applicants may need to have completed practical experiences with naturopathic medicine and specific prerequisite courses.
There are similar programs, such as a Doctor of Health Science in Integrative Healthcare, that are offered entirely online. In this program, students can choose to either select a personalized concentration or a concentration in clinical nutrition.
Doctoral Degree - Naturopathic Medicine
These programs are very rarely offered online, but may include online or distance learning components. Doctoral degree programs in naturopathic medicine usually take four years to complete, though they can take longer if students take classes part-time or extend research. Many programs require doctoral students to write and submit a dissertation.
To complete the practical aspects of a doctoral degree in natural health, students must complete a clinical experience. This is accomplished by working with local hospitals or clinics that allow students to help with patient care and observe doctor-to-patient interactions.
Doctoral students learn about topics in holistic health, wellness and nutrition. Possible courses or subjects studied may include:
- Naturally increasing health and energy
- Insulin resistance in patients with diabetes
- Traditional Chinese medicine
- Adult hormone replacement therapy
- Digestion, nutrition and longevity
- Mental health and nutrition
- Practical applications for holistic medicine
- Mind and body wellness
For courses that are available online, students access online interfaces where they can read professors' lectures and notes, gain assistance with difficult material, complete assignments and chat with other students. Most programs allow students to review the lectures as frequently as needed to become familiar with difficult material and build upon introductory principles. Students complete quizzes and tests online through a secure format. In addition, they are able to participate in virtual classes at times convenient for them.
Some possible job titles available to those with a doctoral degree in natural health include:
- Natural health practitioner
- College professor in health and wellness
- Naturopathic doctor
- Holistic nutritionist
- Community wellness director
Fully online doctoral degrees in natural health are typically not available, since the hands-on component of the field is hard to translate to online learning. However, students may be able to pursue a few courses online, or they can enroll in a related fully online program in a field like integrative healthcare.