Online Doctorate Degree in Traditional Naturopathy
Accredited online doctoral programs in naturopathy are not available. Read about accredited on-campus programs in this field, and review the coursework and program requirements. Get career info for naturopathic physicians, including details on the licensure exam, and review your other job options in the naturopathy field.
What Is a Doctoral Degree In Traditional Naturopathy?
According to the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC), there are no accredited online programs in traditional naturopathy, nor would it be advisable to enroll in the online programs that exist (www.aanmc.org). There are, however, a few accredited, on-campus programs available.
Accredited doctoral programs in naturopathy help you develop the ability to diagnose diseases and treat patients in much of the same manner as traditional doctors. Unlike traditional doctors, however, you will learn non-invasive methods of treatment such as bodily manipulation, nutrition, herbal medicine, counseling and hydrotherapy. The six principles typically taught by most traditional naturopathy schools are:
- Do no harm
- Use the healing power of nature to restore health
- Identify and treat the cause, not the symptoms
- Treat the whole individual, not just the disease
- Act as a teacher as well as a physician
- Preach prevention as the best cure
|Online Availability||There are no accredited online programs; accredited on-campus programs are available|
|Common Courses||Anatomy and physiology, histology, embryology, oncology, dermatology|
|Licensing Requirements||Must graduate from an accredited program and pass a licensing exam (NPLEX), but not all states require licensure|
|Median Salary (2018)||$73,960 (for health diagnosing and treating practitioners, all other)*|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||13% growth (for health diagnosing and treating practitioners, all other)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Courses Will I Take?
On top of the typical prerequisites for graduate-level degree programs, most naturopathic programs require you to have successfully completed a foundation of biology, chemistry, physics and psychology courses. Most schools also strongly recommend that you bring a familiarity with anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, botany and business when applying to their programs. Some less strongly suggest that you take courses in ethics, public speaking, microbiology and public health, as well.
During your 4- or 5-year program, you are likely to engage in a combination of theoretical lecture and practical lab courses. Naturopathic medicine classes are sometimes an extension of prerequisite courses, including anatomy and physiology, histology, embryology and biochemistry. However, you will likely also participate in experiential classes in observation, diagnosis, palpation, gynecology, dermatology and oncology, among others. All programs culminate in a series of clinical rotations in which you are required to shadow doctors and eventually perform patient care.
What Do These Programs Prepare Me For?
These programs help prepare you to pass the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Exam (NPLEX) offered by the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners. The examination is divided into two parts, covering both biomedical sciences and core clinical sciences. Successful completion of a traditional naturopathy program and the NPLEX allows you become a licensed naturopathic doctor (ND).
The AANMC states that naturopathic medicine is currently regulated in 17 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. More states are in the process of legalizing the practice of natural medicine. As natural medicine is an emerging field, you could also decide to pursue positions such as spokesperson, faculty member of an institution, researcher, wellness educator or political advocate.