Doctor of Natural Medicine: Salary and Career Facts

Research what it takes to become a doctor of natural medicine. Learn about education, job duties, and licensure requirements to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Complementary & Alternative Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Doctor of Natural Medicine?

A doctor of natural medicine has knowledge of modern medicine and alternative medicine. These doctors may use acupuncture, nutrition and counseling to treat illnesses and diseases. Commonly, they utilize natural and holistic remedies to treat issues like respiratory conditions, allergies, consistent pain and fatigue. Approaches are based on the belief that the human body can inherently heal itself. In documenting patient history, psychological and physiological issues may be kept in mind. The following chart provides an overview about becoming a doctor of natural medicine.

Degree Required Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (N.D.)
Training Required 1-year residency may be required
Key Responsibilities Examine patients and diagnose health issues; provide treatment based on naturopathic techniques, including herbs, nutrition, homeopathy, acupuncture or other methods of encouraging the body to heal itself
Licensure or Certification 19 states recognize naturopathic doctors and require licensure
Job Growth (2014-2024) 14% (all physicians and surgeons)*
Median Salary (2016) $74,032 (naturopathic physicians)**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Payscale.com

What Education and Training Will I Need As a Doctor of Natural Medicine?

According to the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP), if you aspire to become a licensed doctor of medicine, you must first complete a 4-year naturopathic medical school program (www.naturopathic.org). You should enroll in a program that is accredited by the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges. To gain acceptance into such a program, you should first complete an undergraduate degree that includes courses in biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics.

A naturopathic medical school program introduces you to the basic concepts of modern medicine and will provide you with a theoretical and clinical understanding of natural healing remedies. You might study botany, homeopathic medicine, counseling, clinical nutrition and acupuncture. Most schools will require you to complete a clinical residency before graduation.

What are the Job Duties of a Doctor of Natural Medicine?

When you work as a doctor of natural medicine, you are responsible for showing patients how to prevent illness or treat diseases using the body's own natural responses. You might more commonly go by the title of naturopathic doctor (ND). Your goal is to help patients heal by utilizing diet plans, exercise and remedies commonly found in nature. You might work to harness the body's own ability to restore health and treat medical conditions such as heart disease, allergies, chronic pain, stress injuries and hormonal imbalances.

As a doctor of natural medicine, you may use several forms of alternative healing to help patients. Some of these include acupuncture, counseling, homeopathic medicine, color therapy, and body and mind therapy.

What Licensure Might I Earn?

There are currently 17 U.S. states that require you to gain a license before you can practice as a doctor of natural medicine. To qualify for licensure in these states, you must complete a 4-year doctoral program and pass the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examination. You must also complete mandatory continuing education credits in order to maintain your license.

What Salary Could I Expect to Make?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not report data related to natural or alternative medicine. However, PayScale.com reported in 2016 that naturopathic doctors and physicians working in the United States earned salaries between roughly $36,000-$175,000 per year.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Some related careers include family and general practitioners, physician assistants and nurse midwives. Family and general practitioners need a Doctor of Medicine degree to practice and provide diagnosing and treatment services, which can include assessing patients' conditions, writing prescriptions and analyzing diagnostic tests. Physician assistants, who normally gain a master's degree, support physicians by performing diagnostic tests and other related duties. Nurse midwives also need a master's degree to enter the field, and they specialize in birthing, fetal and gynecological care.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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Popular Schools

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral

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  • Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine & Health Sciences

    Campus Locations:

    • Arizona: Tempe
  • National University of Health Sciences

    Campus Locations:

    • Illinois: Lombard
  • National College of Natural Medicine

    Campus Locations:

    • Oregon: Portland
  • Bastyr University

    Campus Locations:

    • Washington: Kenmore
  • Stanford University

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Stanford
  • Harvard University

    Campus Locations:

    • Massachusetts: Cambridge
  • University of Bridgeport

    Campus Locations:

    • Connecticut: Bridgeport
  • University of Pennsylvania

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: Philadelphia