Whidbey Island Naturopathic
Naturopathic Medicine
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The Education and Licensing of a Naturopathic Doctor

Education

Naturopathic medical colleges are four-year, graduate-level medical schools with admissions requirements comparable to those of other medical schools. The Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine degree, ND, is awarded after classroom, clinical and practical study. NDs are trained in a wide range of medical sciences including: anatomy, cardiology, neurology, physiology, biochemistry, radiology, pathology, obstetrics, minor surgery, microbiology, gynecology, pharmacology, pediatrics, immunology, dermatology, lab diagnostics, clinical and physical diagnosis.

Throughout the four years, there is training in naturopathic therapeutics including therapeutic nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathy, natural childbirth, acupuncture, hydrotherapy, naturopathic manipulative therapy, and other therapies.

The accrediting agency for naturopathic medical schools and programs in North America is the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education, CNME. There are presently four colleges accredited by the CNME in the United States: Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA, Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences in Tempe, AZ, National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, OR, and University of Bridgeport College of Natural Medicine in Bridgeport, CT.

Licensing and Regulation

Currently, twelve states, Washington DC and Puerto Rico have licensing laws for naturopathic doctors. In these states, naturopathic doctors are required to graduate from one of the four-year, residential naturopathic medical schools and pass an extensive postdoctoral board examination (NPLEX) in order to receive a license. Licensed naturopathic physicians must also fulfill state-mandated continuing education requirements annually. In addition, they have a specific scope of practice defined by their state’s law. The states with current licensing laws for naturopathic physicians are Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, and Washington.

A Word of Clarification on the ND Qualification and Credentials

Unfortunately there is some confusion between licensable naturopathic physicians, with a four-year, graduate-level education, and traditional naturopaths, who have only correspondence or online training. Both use the same initials, ND, as professional identification. Traditional naturopaths, however, are health consultants, not healthcare practitioners.

If you wish to receive healthcare from a practitioner who is trained and licensed to diagnose and treat disease, you are looking for a naturopathic physician, such as Dr. Rogers or Dr. Capsey Rogers. In a state with licensing laws, it is important to ask if the ND is licensed as a naturopathic physician. In other states, you could ask if your practitioner took the NPLEX board exam or attended one of the four-year accredited naturopathic colleges named above.

Please note that many traditional naturopaths are truly gifted healers. It is important, however, to understand that a traditional naturopath is limited in training and scope of practice. We merely feel that those seeking health care should be able to make an informed distinction between those professionals with similar names and the same identifying initials.

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