Doctors of natural medicine, or naturopathic physicians, use alternative therapies to treat patients for medical issues. Doctors of natural medicine typically attend a graduate-level training program for four years. They may need to obtain state licensure in order to practice this type of medicine.
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A doctor of natural medicine, often called a naturopathic physician, helps patients improve and support their bodies' natural ability to combat infections and diseases. They receive their training through a 4-year graduate-level naturopathic medicine program, training that is offered at just a few schools in the U.S. While all graduates from accredited naturopathic medical schools can use the Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (DNM) title, only certain states regulate the practice of naturopathic medicine and license DNMs. Other states may allow them to practice, but with restrictions.
|Required Education||Doctor of Naturopathy or Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine degree|
|Other Requirements||State requirements vary, with some offering DNM licenses|
|Projected Job Growth (for health diagnosing and treating practitioners, all others)||12% from 2014-24*|
|Median Salary||$73,412 (2016)**|
Sources: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **PayScale.com.
Salary Information for a Doctor of Natural Medicine
According to the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education, naturopathic physicians completing residencies in 2015 and 2016 earned between $32,600 and $37,490 the first year and between $38,000 and $38,800 the second year. Practicing naturopathic physicians can earn between $30,521 and $125,268 base pay, according to January 2016 data from Payscale.com. Many influences can impact the average earnings of a naturopathic doctor, including location and experience as well as whether or not the physician owns his or her own practice.
A doctor of natural or naturopathic medicine works with patients to devise natural solutions to their health problems, utilizing the body's ability to heal. They treat current conditions as well as promote health maintenance and disease prevention through healthy habits and practices. They may advise patients on diets and physical activity. Medical treatments can come in the form of herbs and supplements.
Currently, only 16 states and four provinces regulate the practice of naturopathic medicine. Doctors in other states who have studied naturopathic medicine often hold other medical degrees and practice under medical or chiropractic licenses. Within those states with regulation, qualifications for licensure and practice as a naturopathic physician may vary. Physicians typically complete a residency and pass a board examination to earn licensure.
Becoming a doctor of natural medicine involves graduate-level education and may require licensure, depending on the state you wish to practice in. The BLS reports that from 2014-2024 there will be faster than average job growth for all health diagnosing and treating practitioners, which includes naturopathic physicians.