Naturopathy, also known as natural medicine, is a practice of treating disease using natural remedies rather than drugs and surgery. Online doctoral programs train naturopathic doctors in nutrition, herbal remedies, massage, acupuncture and exercise.
Online degree programs in naturopathy typically require four years of full-time doctoral study and culminate in a Naturopathic Doctor (N.D.) or a Naturopathic Medical Doctor (N.M.D.). Online naturopathy programs may be accredited by the American Natural Medicine Accreditation Board (ANMAB).
Most online naturopathy programs are semi-self-paced, involving guided independent study. Programs are most commonly available in a blended format that includes clinical education and an externship in the field. Field-specific software is also required.
Students are required to take all of the same basic science classes as a student in an M.D. program, but they must also take classes specific to naturopathy.
The naturopathic curriculum may include the following courses:
- Nutrition and health for body, mind and spirit
- Psychology of healing
- Legal guidelines for naturopathy
- Philosophy and ethics
- Naturopathic history
Clinical education and externships are typically required by naturopathic online degree programs. Clinical education requirements for online programs are met by shadowing a local professional or at a local institution where the student experiences situations they may encounter as a naturopathic doctor. Clinical education usually consists of around 400 contact hours.
Externships are also a typical requirement of online naturopathy education programs. These externships require the student to work in a naturopathic practice. Most degree programs require around 2,000 externship contact hours for graduation.
Continuing Education Information
Fourteen states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands require licensing of naturopathic doctors. The licensing and regulation requirements vary by state, but all require the naturopathic doctor to have graduated from a doctoral-level college program. Some states may require the graduate to pass the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Exam (NPLEX) or to be certified by the American Naturopathy Certification Board (ANCB).
By earning an online N.D., aspiring naturopathic doctors can prepare for licensing or certification exams. Students in these programs can expect to take online courses in both traditional and alternative medicine, and they must also get real-world experience through supervised training hours.