Three Steps to Plan for Naturopathic Medical School

Attending an accredited naturopathic medical program is the first step toward pursuing a rewarding career in naturopathic medicine. Below are three simple steps to plan for naturopathic medical school. We also advise students to write down why you want to be an ND – and keep that handy, as life may try to throw you off course, and we all can use an occasional reminder to stay on track.

1. The Academic Plan

What courses need to be completed prior to applying to an ND school?

Prerequisites vary somewhat from school to school, but generally speaking, future students should ensure that they have taken the required pre-medical courses, including biology and chemistry. In addition to chemistry and biology, most ND schools require the completion of a psychology/counseling course as well; the MCAT is not required for admission. Click here to learn more about prerequisites.

Which undergraduate degree is best?

Successful naturopathic medical students come from a variety of undergraduate disciplines. There is no “best degree” to pursue as an undergraduate as long as you earn your bachelor’s degree and complete the academic prerequisites prior to applying to naturopathic medical school. Many ND students have bachelor’s degrees in the sciences (Biology, Chemistry); however, many others have degrees in Psychology, Nutrition, and Kinesiology, to name a few. It is important that future ND students ensure that their prerequisite coursework is from a regionally accredited school to ascertain credits will transfer.

Do online classes count toward prerequisites?

Online courses from accredited institutions are considered on a case-by-case basis. Schools may have policies on lab courses, and whether they can be taken in an online or hybrid (online and in person) format. It is best to speak with an admissions counselor to discuss your path forward before starting an online course intended to fulfill a prerequisite.

Meet with a counselor

Future ND students are strongly encouraged to schedule an appointment with an admissions counselor to review their transcripts and/or to see what additional courses may be needed. This will ensure that they have taken – or plan to take – the prerequisite courses necessary to apply to naturopathic medical school.

Strengthen yourself as a candidate

Pursuing a career in naturopathic medicine is a commitment to lifelong learning. As such, it is important that applicants are able to demonstrate genuine interest and understanding of what naturopathic doctors do. Furthermore, they should be prepared to answer: Why do you want to become a naturopathic physician?

Additional ways to build your experience in naturopathic medicine:

  • See an ND as a patient
  • Work in an ND office
  • Intern in the natural medicine/natural products field
  • Participate in natural medicine research
  • Attend conferences and seminars in topics that interest you
  • Participate in world medicine, stateside or abroad

Click here to find an ND near you in the US and Canada.

2. The Personal Plan

How to prepare to be successful at naturopathic medical school?

Becoming a successful naturopathic doctor requires more than specific coursework; it also requires personal commitment. With the accredited naturopathic programs spread across North America, ND students must make decisions as they embark on their educational journey.

The AANMC is often asked what the best school to attend is. There is no best school, but there is a best fit for each student. That decision should take into consideration school curriculum, geographic location, job opportunities and desired work location following graduation. Future students should also factor in the role and importance of family and support systems, as well as the academic offerings, school culture and student life of each school.

Every journey involves a few missteps. Successful naturopathic students have a plan in place to address these inevitable roadblocks.

3. The Financial Plan

How will you pay for your education?

The cost of naturopathic medical school is similar to other higher education degrees. On top of tuition, students must factor in personal expenses (which will vary based on geographic location and personal needs).

While some students are able to work part-time through school, it is not recommended to rely on that income as a main source for financing your education. The academic workload is a full-time commitment in itself and demands focused attention. Additionally, scheduling work while on clinical rotations can become challenging.

Students should be prepared with a plan for financing their time during ND school and if possible not to rely strictly on student loans. Information on student loans may be found here. In addition, students may consider looking into work-study programs at each school.

We also recommend judicious use of student loans, including taking out the bare minimum needed to complete the program.

It is advisable to think about your business and post-graduation work plan early on in school. Each naturopathic medical school offers business courses and a Career Services department to help students and alumni launch their careers.

Ready to apply?

You may submit your application to the individual naturopathic medical schools here.


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