What Are Naturopathic Studies?

In a naturopathic studies program, you'll study natural ways to manage health and learn about alternative healing practices. Keep reading to learn more about programs and careers in naturopathic studies. Schools offering Complementary & Alternative Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of Naturopathic Studies

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) defines naturopathy, or naturopathic medicine, as a holistic approach that combines both traditional and natural approaches to health (www.nccih.nih.gov). These practices emphasize restoring the body to equilibrium while avoiding invasive medical treatments and medications as much as possible. You may use herbal medications, massage therapy, hydrotherapy and lifestyle counseling to help your patients.

Programs in naturopathic studies aim to prepare you to treat and prevent disease by seeking out the root cause of a medical problem rather than just treating its outward symptoms. You'll also gain an understanding of preventive measures that can lead to better health for patients, such as exercise, meditation and diet maintenance.

Important Facts About Naturopathic Medicine

Online AvailabilitySome coursework available online depending on program
Continuing EducationRequired for some professions to maintain license, such as naturopathic doctors and acupuncturists
School TypesPrograms usually offered by natural health and medicine schools or other health science schools
Key SkillsCritical thinking, problem solving, listening and speaking skills
Median Salary (July 2019) $72,009 (for naturopathic physicians)*
Job Growth (2016-2026) 13% (for all other health diagnosing and treating practitioners)**

Sources: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Naturopathic Medicine

In order to be admitted into a naturopathic medicine program, you'll first need to earn a bachelor's degree and complete several prerequisite courses, such as chemistry, physics and biology. Naturopathic medicine programs require another four years of study and include classroom training in the biomedical sciences as well as areas like nutrition, botanical medicine, counseling and homeopathy. You'll also undergo clinical training and gain experience working with different types of patients. Some of the tasks you may perform as part of your clinical training include performing acupuncture, providing lifestyle counseling, treating diabetes, removing skin lesions and conducting hydrotherapy. Completion of the program results in a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (N.D.).

After graduating from your N.D. program, you have the option to further your training and enter a residency program in a specialty area. These 1- to 2-year programs are available in areas such as acute care, general medicine, mental health, acupuncture and family practice.

Alternate Educational Options

If you don't want to commit to such a long and rigorous study program, related programs are available. For example, you might consider enrolling in a bachelor's, master's or certificate program in wellness, acupuncture, Oriental medicine, midwifery or herbal medicine. There are also non-degree courses available if you're interested in learning more about alternative health methods for your own personal benefit.

Licensure and Career Information

To work as a naturopathic doctor, some states require licensure. This generally involves passing the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examination (NPLEX) upon graduation from a professional program accredited by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education.

After earning your N.D., you aren't limited to working as a naturopathic physician. You could also go on to work as a natural pharmacist, wellness educator, public health administrator or natural product researcher. If you graduated from a related program, depending on your background, you could work as an acupuncturist, midwife, Reiki master or herbalist.

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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