Alternative Medicine Doctorate Programs with Course Information

Essential Information

The Doctor of Naturopathy program teaches students to use herbal therapies to treat their patients' minds, bodies, and spirits. Students learn about botanical and naturopathic medicine as well as anatomy and homeopathy. Training clinics and residencies may be included in the curriculum. In addition to a science-related bachelor's degree, program applicants should have relevant work experience.

When enrolled in a Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine program, students can learn about advanced acupuncture and Chinese herbology through clinical research. Applicants to this program should have prior knowledge of herbology, a relevant master's degree or graduate-level award, and significant professional experience.

Doctor of Naturopathy

A Doctor of Naturopathy (NA) degree program is an alternative medicine program that treats a patient's body, as well as mind and spirit through the use of herbs and alternative therapies not traditionally used in contemporary medicine. The NA degree program explores natural health care through extensive training clinics and a residency program. Additionally, students have the opportunity to complete a number of research projects in areas such as herbal medicines, complementary therapies and botanical medicines.

In the first years of study of the naturopathy doctorate degree program, students will receive a robust fundamental education in the sciences, clinical theory and anatomy. Advanced courses include patient ethics, case analysis, patient care and naturopathic therapies. Once a student has completed the clinical studies and seminars, they must complete a residency program. Classes students may take include:

  • Human anatomy
  • Botanical medicine
  • Naturopathic medicine
  • Homeopathy
  • Naturopathic manipulation
  • Cardiology

Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

The Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM) is the highest credential available for practicing acupuncturists in the United States. A DAOM degree program features advanced treatment skills in oncology, anatomy and pain management needed for treating cancer patients and those with chronic pain. The curriculum of the DAOM degree program moves beyond basic theories of oriental medicine to advanced treatment practices and therapies needed in a clinical setting. Hands-on training is offered through clinical research and clinical teaching.

The DAOM is an intensive 24-month program that includes lecture and lab courses. In the first year, students will receive advanced study in anatomy, acupuncture and pain management. The second year is devoted to advanced healing and pain management clinicals and an internship. Typical courses DAOM students can expect include the following:

  • Chinese herbs
  • Pharmacology
  • Living anatomy
  • Pathology of pain
  • Huang di nei jing
  • Advanced acupuncture

Popular Careers

Naturopathic doctors can find careers in a variety of fields including private practices or integrative medical clinics, research centers, insurance companies and corporate firms. Career options for naturopathic doctors include the following:

  • Naturopathic specialists
  • Naturopathic consultant
  • Wellness entrepreneur
  • Natural medicine advisor
  • Primary natural care physician

Graduates of the DAOM program can find positions in independent practices and collaborative clinics. Career opportunities can also be found in hospitals and in acupuncture schools and universities. The following are careers DAOM graduates may find:

  • Licensed acupuncturist
  • Chinese herbalist
  • Professor of acupuncture

The most common alternative medicine doctorate degree programs found are the Doctor of Naturopathy and the Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. These programs teach students the fundamentals of alternative medicine with a focus on each of their degree specialties, allowing for many career opportunities at a private practice or as part of a larger medical clinic or company.

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