Updated: Jun 27, 2020
If you're reading this, it means you have started the process of researching on how to become a naturopathic doctor! Congratulations on considering this very real possibility for a future career for yourself.
I am here to share my experiences with you.
WHY I WAS INSPIRED TO BECOME A NATUROPATHIC DOCTOR
I loved how wide the scope of practice is. A naturopathic doctor (depending on the state or province they are practicing in) can use any type of extra training to create their own career in the field of medicine. Areas you can practice in on a daily basis or specialize in:
- Counseling and mind -body medicine
- Botanical medicine
- Physical medicine which includes manipulative techniques on joints and muscles.
- Functional medicine - Maternity & Pediatrics
- Midwifery - Nutrition - Weight loss - PRP, Prolotherapy, dry needling
I also love that you can be your own boss and have a privatized healthcare model for your patients, so you are not limited to time restrictions, unlike MDs. It is important to note that unlike the U.S., in Canada you cannot be both an MD and an ND. You must choose one. Furthermore, MDs cannot step out of MSP and charge cash like NDs can.
Not to mention you can create classes once you gain more experience in an area to educate other students or practitioners and use many avenues to add to your income.
The following information has been derived from multiple resources as references and I have put it all together for you as a full resource of all the pertinents.
PREREQUISITES FOR NATUROPATHIC MEDICAL SCHOOL
Though the requirements differ slightly from school to school, all AANMC member schools require an undergraduate degree; have minimum GPA requirements; and academic prerequisites, encompassing biology, chemistry, physics, algebra, psychology, social sciences, and humanities. AANMC
EXAMS DURING NATUROPATHIC MEDICAL SCHOOL
CLINIC ENTRY EXAM
NPLEX I (can be done at any time, but most tend to do it after year 2).
NPLEX II (you want to do this pretty much as soon as you graduate, and once you pass, you can start practicing)
Elective Acupuncture and Elective Minor Surgery Examinations.
CLINIC EXIT EXAM
BOARD EXAM (BC only)
Jurisprudence exam for the state or province you are getting your license in.
PRESCRIPTIVE AUTHORITY (Canada)
DEA license (US only, optional)
Resources people use to study for examinations:
NPLEX I + II and Minor surgery elective: Dr. Paul Anderson https://www.consultdranderson.com/courses/
Core Knowledge for NPLEX 2 book: https://nplexreview.com/product/core-knowledge-for-nplex2-sixth-edition/
NPLEX II: Case Files PDF or books.
Prescriptive authority: CTC 2019: Compendium of Therapeutic Choices by Canadian Pharmacists Association: https://www.pharmacists.ca/products-services/compendium-of-therapeutic-choices-2019-edition/ (I wish I had known about this book from the moment we started learning pharmacology. I do not know about an American equivalent)
For prescriptive authority in Canada, there are some notes floating around, that a student has made. I was fortunate to find out about them. I think they are so necessary. If you want access to this, contact me.
Licensed and licensable (from accredited institutions) naturopathic doctors (ND) are educated in all the same biomedical sciences as a medical doctor (MD). NDs study holistic approaches to therapy with a strong emphasis on disease prevention and optimizing wellness. Naturopathic medicine students learn to treat all aspects of family health and wellness, from pediatrics to geriatrics. Clinical exposure with patient interaction is essential to naturopathic medical education – so much so that clinical training is now being introduced during the first and second years of education at most AANMC-member schools.
In both MD and ND schools, the first two years focus on biomedical science, clinical sciences, and diagnostics, including:
The early years of naturopathic medical school also include introduction to naturopathic modalities, such as homeopathy, nutrition, and botanical medicine. ND students emerge from the first two years of training with a strong foundation in physiology, pathology, and diagnosis. They use the Western medical sciences as a foundation on which to build a thorough knowledge of holistic, non-toxic therapies, and to develop skills in diagnosis, disease prevention, and wellness optimization. AANMC
The third and fourth years of training distinguish naturopathic medical programs from traditional medical schools in several ways. Much of the ND curriculum is devoted to non-pharmaceutical/non-surgical approaches to managing patient conditions, and students spend significant time studying lifestyle counseling, nutrition, and health promotion. In addition to the biomedical and clinical sciences, ND students are extensively trained in:
Counseling, including behavioural change