Naturopathic Physician Education


After completion of standard premedical undergraduate coursework, a naturopathic doctor (N.D.) attends a four-year graduate level naturopathic medical school and is educated in all of the same basic sciences as an M.D. or D.O. but also studies holistic and natural approaches to therapy with a strong emphasis on disease prevention and optimizing wellness. The training consists of comprehensive study of the conventional medical sciences including: anatomy, physiology, pathology, microbiology, immunology, clinical and physical diagnosis, laboratory diagnosis, cardiology, gastroenterology, gynecology, etc. The naturopathic education is unique in that naturopathic doctors complete extensive academic and clinical education in the use of natural medicines and that the training is based on the principles of naturopathic medicine.

In addition to a standard medical curriculum, the naturopathic doctor is required to complete four years of training in clinical nutrition, homeopathic medicine, botanical medicine, psychology, and counseling (to encourage people to make lifestyle changes in support of their personal health). The naturopathic program includes two full years of supervised clinical training. Completion of optional residency is also available to some graduates. A naturopathic doctor takes a rigorous national licensing examination so that he or she may be licensed by a state or jurisdiction as a naturopathic physician. Additional information on naturopathic schools can be found at

Naturopathic doctors are trained to perform physical exams, laboratory testing, gynecological exams, nutritional and dietary assessments, allergy testing, imaging, and other means of diagnosis. Naturopathic doctors refer patients to other specialists and health care providers for diagnosis and treatment when indicated.

Naturopathic doctors take a national board exam, Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Exam (NPLEX), and attain a state license where it is available.

In licensed states, N.D.’s practice as independent primary care general practitioners, with the ability to diagnose and treat medical conditions, perform physical exams, ad order laboratory testing. In these states many health care consumers specifically choose N.D.’s as their primary care providers.

In unlicensed states, like Virginia, naturopathic doctors are not able to offer all of the services that they are trained to provide.

Naturopathic medicine has an independent accrediting agency, the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME), which is the only federally recognized authority for establishing and maintaining the educational standards for the naturopathic medicine profession in the United States. The CNME for the N.D. degree is equivalent to the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) that is the accrediting authority for medical education programs leading to the M.D. degree and the American Osteopathic Association’s (AOA) Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP) that is the accrediting authority leading to the D.O. degree.

American Association of Naturopathic Medical Colleges
The Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC) was established in February 2001 to propel and foster the naturopathic medical profession by actively supporting the academic efforts of accredited and recognized schools of naturopathic medicine. AANMC offers seven accredited naturopathic medical programs and eight campus locations in North America.

AANMC Member Schools:

Bastyr University
14500 Juanita Dr. NE, Kenmore, Washington 98028-4966
Phone: (425) 823-1300, Fax: (425) 823-6222

Bastry University – California Campus
4106 Sorrento Valley Boulevard
San Diego, California 92121-1407
Phone: (858) 246-9700, Fax: (858) 246-9710

National College of Natural Medicine
049 SW Porter St., Portland, OR 97201
Phone: (503) 552-1555

National University of Health Sciences
200 East Roosevelt Road
Lombard, IL 60148
Phone: (630) 629-2000, Fax: (630) 889-6499

Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine
2140 E. Broadway Rd., Tempe, Arizona 85282
Phone: (480) 858-9100, Fax (480) 858.9116

University of Bridgeport – College of Naturopathic Medicine
Health Science Center, 60 Lafayette Street, Bridgeport, Connecticut 06604
Phone: (800) EXCEL UB (392-3582) ext. 4108

Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine
1255 Sheppard Avenue East, Toronto, Ontario, M2K 1E2
Phone: (416) 498-1255, Toll Free: 1-866-241-2266

Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine
Boucher Centre, 300-435 Columbia Street, New Westminster, British Columbia, V3L 5N8
Phone: 604-777-9981, Fax: 604-777-9982

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