Online Natural Medicine Degree Programs

Doctor of Naturopathy (N.D.) programs train practitioners to help people stay healthy without using conventional medical practices. Accredited naturopathic medicine programs are not currently offered online, so you'll need to earn your degree on campus. You can, however, prepare for your graduate education by earning a bachelor's degree online. If you want to learn more about N.D. programs, including prerequisites, common courses and licensing requirements, keep reading. Schools offering Complementary & Alternative Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Online Degree Options Are Available in Natural Medicine?

Doctor of Naturopathy programs are available if you're looking to receive an advanced professional degree that allows you to practice natural medicine. The Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC) reported that there were only five recognized schools in the U.S. that offered accredited N.D. programs as of 2011 (www.aanmc.org).

However, no schools currently offer AANMC-accredited N.D. programs online due to the extensive in-person program requirements, including laboratory classes, supervised internships and clinicals. Moreover, AANMC-recognized programs must cover many of the same core courses as Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) programs, while meeting the requirements to sit for the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations (NPLEX).

If you wish to study online and haven't received your undergraduate degree, you can earn a bachelor's degree in alternative medicine through distance learning. These programs can prepare you to apply to an accredited, on-campus N.D. program.

Degree OptionsDoctor of Naturopathy, M.D. programs, though neither are offered online
Admission RequirementsAn undergraduate major in a science or math field will be helpful, coursework requirements, minimum GPA
Common Course TopicsRadiological imaging, microbiology, homeopathic medicine, botanical medicine, pharmacology
LicensureDepending on the state, you usually must pass the NPLEX to practice

How Can I Prepare?

While there isn't a general restriction on the undergraduate major required to gain admittance into an N.D. program, you'll usually want to choose a program that includes classes in organic chemistry, physics, biology and math. You can also prepare for a naturopathic medicine program by completing coursework in physiology, anatomy, alternative medical practices, botany and biochemistry. Some N.D. schools might require you to meet a minimum GPA requirement.

What Will I Learn?

As an N.D. student, you'll take many of the same anatomy, diagnostics and physiology courses that students in a traditional medical program do. Like M.D. programs, naturopathic medicine programs also cover radiological imaging, public health, microbiology and pharmacology.

However, you'll also learn about homeopathic and botanical medicine. Naturopathic medicine programs emphasize alternative treatments over those that involve invasive procedures or pharmaceutical compounds. N.D. programs take four years to complete; the first half of the program is usually spent developing a foundation in the science of natural medicine, while the second half focuses on gaining clinical experience and training.

You'll be expected to complete an internship under the supervision of a naturopathic medicine practitioner. These experiences will allow you to demonstrate the knowledge you've acquired in patient observation, diagnostics and health care management. You also might choose to complete an approved residency after you earn your N.D. to gain further medical experience.

What Are the Licensure Requirements?

Earning your N.D. doesn't qualify you to practice naturopathic medicine, but it is needed in order for you to take the professional examinations required for licensure as a naturopathic doctor. As of 2011, the AANMC reported that 16 states, as well as the District of Columbia, required individuals to hold a license to practice naturopathic medicine. Licensure requirements vary by state, but you typically must pass the NPLEX and graduate from an accredited N.D. program that focuses on both medical and naturopathic science.

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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