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Naturopathy Professional: Education Requirements & Career Info

The field of natural medicine is growing as patients look for alternative medical treatment methods. Naturopathy professionals are concerned with using natural treatments for healthcare problems. Educational and career options vary according to state healthcare licensing laws.

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What is a Naturopathy Professional?

A naturopathy professional, also known as a naturopath, is a healthcare professional who specializes in using natural treatments and methods to promote healthy living and a healthy body. Naturopathy is categorized under the field of holistic medicine. According to the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC), the philosophies of naturopathy include a belief in the body's ability 'to heal itself' as well as a medical approach that minimizes the use of invasive and toxic treatments (www.aanmc.org).

According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, many forms of complementary and alternative medicine have not been rigorously tested scientifically. The effectiveness and safety of these practices has not yet been determined (www.nih.gov). While job growth info is extremely difficult to find for these professionals, PayScale.com reported in December 2013 that naturopathic doctors' median salary was $69,200.

Education Overview for Naturopathy Professionals

Naturopathy School Prerequisites

According to the AANMC, students who plan to attend a naturopathic college to earn a doctoral degree in naturopathic medicine should complete a curriculum that includes coursework in biology and organic chemistry. Other recommended courses include physiology, psychology and botany.

Naturopathic Colleges

The AANMC accredits five schools of naturopathic medicine in the U.S. The Doctor of Naturopathy or Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (N.D.) programs at these schools require students to complete coursework in anatomy and physiology. Students must also complete supervised clinical rotations. Alternative healing modalities that may be studied in a naturopathy curriculum include:

  • Hydrotherapy
  • Homeopathy
  • Herbalism
  • Homeopathy
  • Iridology
  • Sclerology

By studying these subjects, students are able to gain more information that can help them improve their understanding of this alternative medical field. These students are also able to learn techniques that they can use to help their patients who prefer holistic medical strategies.

Licensing of Naturopathy Professionals

State laws regarding the licensing of naturopathy professionals vary widely. In some states, such as Tennessee and South Carolina, the practice of naturopathy is outlawed. In other states, individuals must be licensed to practice naturopathy, with various restrictions on the scope of practice of a naturopathic physician. Licensing requires the completion of a state-approved educational program and a passing score on the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examination.

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