Those interested in careers in homeopathy may become a naturopathic practitioner or a physician who specializes in homeopathic medicine. Both must complete medical school, although naturopathic practitioners complete their study at a naturopathic medical school. Physicians specializing in homeopathy attend medical school and then typically complete additional coursework in homeopathy.
Homeopathy focuses on the treatment of patients' medical problems and overall health through the prescription of holistic remedies. In the United States, naturopathic doctors often practice homeopathic medicine, though some standard medical doctors may also supplement their practices with homeopathic treatments. A professional doctorate is needed for these careers, and licensure requirements typically apply as well.
|Career Titles||Naturopathic Doctor||Physician|
|Required Education||Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine or Doctor of Naturopathy||Doctor of Medicine|
|Licensure||17 states require naturopathic doctors to be licensed as of 2014||All medical doctors must be licensed|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||9%-13% (health diagnosing and treating practitioners, all other)**||14% (all physicians and surgeons)*|
|Mean Annual Salary (May 2015)*||$85,120 (health diagnosing and treating practitioners, all other)||$197,700 (all physicians and surgeons)|
Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, **O'Net Online
Both naturopathic doctors and standard physicians see patients, diagnose illnesses and prescribe treatments. However, their focus on homeopathy and educational paths are different.
To become a naturopathic practitioner, candidates must graduate from an accredited 4-year naturopathic medical school, where they study both traditional and alternative medicine. Graduates typically then pass the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Exam, although not all states currently regulate naturopathic practice. The states that license naturopathic doctors may have additional requirements, though this varies state-by-state.
The homeopathic portion of a naturopathic medicine program is normally divided between study of practical and classical homeopathy, usually dating from the foundation of homeopathy, and exploration of the Homeopathic Materia Medica, a reference guide for prescribing homeopathic remedies. Students also generally complete a great deal of hands-on, clinical work.
Traditional doctors must also graduate from an accredited 4-year medical school; however, homeopathy is not typically included in this curriculum. Doctors wanting to add homeopathy to their treatment methods may consider taking Continuing Medical Education (CME) courses related to the field. Licensure for traditional physicians is required in all states; candidates must pass the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam.
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Homeopathic remedies are holistic, which means they are prescribed to fit a patient's entire lifestyle, rather than to address an individual symptom. Because many factors, including diet, exercise, sleep schedule and work habits, influence patients' well-being, homeopathic practitioners often prescribe different remedies for patients with the same condition.
Homeopathy is designed to stimulate a person's body to heal itself by providing interference with a disease or condition, thus allowing the body to 'spring back' into proper operation. Homeopathic remedies are created by means of extreme dilution and are said to work because of the 'memory of water' principle. This theory proposes that a process of succession and dilution imprints something of the original substance on the resulting remedy, even if the base substance itself is no longer present.
In an attempt to set standards for homeopathy education and practice, several organizations offer national certifications. Among these are the Homeopathic Academy of Naturopathic Physicians and the American Board of Homeotherapeutics. Additionally, the Council on Homeopathic Certification provides accreditation for homeopathy schools in the U.S. and Canada.
Salary information for homeopathic practitioners in the United States is difficult to find, since it's often either a supplemental practice for medical doctors or part of a multi-faceted treatment approach for naturopathic doctors. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicated that mean annual salaries for all physicians and surgeons were $197,700 as of May 2015, while health diagnosing and treating practitioners not listed separately (including naturopathic doctors) earned a mean annual salary of $85,120.
Physicians require licensing in all states and homeopath practitioners require licensing in several states. Certification in homeopathy is available from several organizations. Both professions are expected to experience job growth that is faster than the job market as a whole.