Questions: Education and Regulation

Education and training
Like a conventional doctor, dentist, or chiropractor, the naturopathic doctor first completes pre-medical studies at university. The naturopathic student then enters into a four-year, full-time medical program at an accredited school of naturopathic medicine. Training includes basic, medical, and clinical science; diagnostics; naturopathic principles and therapeutics; and extensive clinical experience under the supervision of licensed naturopathic doctors. Graduates receive the title "N.D." or Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine.

Accredited programs The Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME) is the only government-recognized accrediting body for naturopathic medical schools in Canada and the United States. The CNME has accredited the following naturopathic medical programs:

  • The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (Toronto, Ontario)
  • The National College of Naturopathic Medicine (Portland, Oregon)
  • Bastyr University (Seattle, Washington)
  • The Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine (New Westminster,British Columbia)
  • The University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine (Bridgeport, Connecticut
  • Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences (Scottsdale, Arizona)

Upon successful completion of any accredited program, a naturopathic doctor is eligible to sit for NPLEX and take provincial or state board examinations to obtain licensure.

Correspondence programs
None of the CNME-accredited institutions offer any portion of the ND degree via correspondence or the Internet. Graduates of non-accredited institutions, correspondence and/or Internet programs are not eligible to sit for NPLEX, the North American board exams for naturopathic medicine. Graduates of correspondence programs are not allowed to take provincial or state licensing exams. No graduate from these schools has ever been licensed by any provincial or state licensing board. No member of the CAND has received their naturopathic medical training through correspondence courses.

Licensed naturopathic doctors
A licensed naturopathic doctor is one who practices in a regulated province or state or, if practicing in an unlicensed province or state, has obtained and maintains his/her license in a regulated province/state and has completed a four-year, full-time program at an accredited school of naturopathic medicine. Following the completion of an accredited program, NDs must successful complete standardized North American Board exams known as the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations (NPLEX) in order to qualify for licensing.

  • To find out if a naturopathic doctor is licensed, either check with the naturopathic regulatory board of your province or contact the CAND.

Regulated provinces
In Canada naturopathic practice is regulated under provincial law in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. Alberta regulations are pending and expected to be completed by 2008. All other provinces and territories are actively pursuing regulation.

There are fourteen states that license NDs (as of April 2005): Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Oregon, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Utah, Vermont and Washington as well as the District of Columbia and the US Territories of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

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