I have questions about naturopathic medical school
Your Top Questions Answered (click on each question to reveal the answer)
1. Where can I find a naturopathic doctor (ND) with a degree from an accredited school practicing near me?
IN THE US: The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) maintains a database of all AANP-member NDs that can be searched by location. Go to www.naturopathic.org and click on the Find a Doctor link to search for a practicing ND in your area. You can also search by naturopathic state association as well.
IN CANADA: The Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND) maintains a database of member NDs. Go to www.cand.ca/ and enter the search location.
2. I have a degree in a healthcare-related field. Do I still need to enroll in a naturopathic medical school and complete the four-year program in order to obtain an ND degree?
The ND schools deal with advanced standing in a few different ways. The most common approach is that DCs, MDs, LAcs, etc. will apply for advanced standing during the application process. This entails sending official transcripts, course descriptions from time of attendance, and typically a transfer evaluation fee. A school representative will then conduct a transfer evaluation. Courses transfer based on equivalent 1) course content 2) classroom and lab contact hours 3) a grade of C or above in the course. In most cases, all the basic sciences transfer for doctors (and physical medicine for DCs, acupuncture for LAcs, etc.). We do not transfer clinical training hours or clinical science courses unless they were earned at another naturopathic institution.
The other approach for advanced standing is that once matriculated, the student applies for course transfer on a case-by-case basis. This may occur when a student took the course at another institution but it didn’t transfer because the content wasn’t clear in the course description, contact hours weren’t equivalent, etc. Another instance in which this may be the best approach is when a student has an MBA or MA in another area but doesn’t have enough transfer credits (20 or more) to go through the advanced standing process. The student may petition the instructor to transfer the class using syllabi or transcripts. In most cases the instructor will sign for transfer on the class. Occasionally, the student may be required to take a challenge exam (usually covering basic science). For more information, view our academic curriculum.
3. Why don’t the AANMC-member schools offer online courses? Can I obtain an ND degree online?
In a nutshell, if your purpose in studying naturopathic medicine is to become a practicing, primary care physician, then you’ll have to attend one of the seven accredited schools (at eight campus locations in the U.S. and Canada) on site, with classrooms and laboratory facilities and patient clinics. To be recognized as an AANMC-member school, the school must be accredited by a federally approved agency (that would be the Secretary of Education in the U.S.). Then, to be granted a license to practice naturopathic medicine, a student must have graduated from one of these same federal-agency-approved schools.
AANMC believes that online/correspondence programs are not capable of producing qualified naturopathic physicians. Graduates of these programs are not recognized as naturopathic doctors in any jurisdiction that licenses naturopathic physicians and are neither qualified nor eligible to sit for the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations (NPLEX), so they have no means of becoming licensed physicians.
For more information regarding online degrees https://aanmc.org/resources/can-earn-nd-degree-online/
4. If I earn an ND degree or the equivalent from a college outside of the U.S. or Canada, can I still practice as an ND in the U.S. or Canada?
The ND title is licensed in both the U.S. and Canada, but only in select states and provinces. You can find these states and provinces listed here.
AANMC does not track whether ND degrees from schools outside the U.S. and Canada would be recognized in North America or not. In order to become licensed here, you must sit for and pass the NPLEX (board exams). Typically, graduation from one of the seven North-American-based CNME-accredited or regionally accredited institutions is required in order to be eligible to take the NPLEX exam.
However, we suggest you contact NABNE (The North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners) directly. They administer the NPLEX, and will be able to give you a more definite answer. You can find them on the Web or e-mail them. You may wish to apply for advanced standing admission to one of the AANMC schools. Contact the individual schools directly for specifics on transfers.
You can also find each of our schools. In the process of applying to ND school in North America, you will need to have your transcripts evaluated by a foreign transcript evaluation service. In the course of the evaluation, if the U.S. or Canada recognizes any of your coursework as graduate- or professional-level, those credits could apply toward an advanced standing at the school. This would at least shave time off of your naturopathic medicine program here.
There are three organizations that play a part in accrediting and licensing NDs in the USA:
- U.S. Department of Education (ED)
- Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME)
- North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners (NABNE)
You can learn more about the roles of each organization, and the entire accreditation process.
Conversely, an ND can practice outside of the U.S. However, the license you earn here won’t necessarily translate directly. I think you’ll find that each country’s requirements differ, even as licensing requirements here differ from state to state.