A naturopathic medical degree from an accredited institution provides the foundation for many rewarding career choices.
While many graduates choose to focus their energy developing one pathway, a growing number combine one or more of these areas for professional flexibility and to create the work-life balance that is best for them.
Clinical demand is high for licensed naturopathic physicians. NDs work in a variety of practice settings, including multi-practitioner, integrative medicine clinics, solo practitioner offices, concierge practices and telemedicine. NDs serve as primary care providers with a general medicine practice (colds/flus, asthma, headaches, etc.), or they may decide to have a more specialized practice focusing on either a specific population or illness category, such as women’s or men’s health, sports medicine, pediatrics, oncology, etc. To learn more about naturopathic specialties, click here.
Basic tasks of a naturopathic doctor in a clinical setting
- Medical assessment and diagnosis: NDs conduct a complete and accurate history, physical exam and objective assessment, to arrive at a diagnosis.
- Patient management: NDs provide personalized, compassionate, ethical, holistic patient care. They employ appropriate management strategies to promote health and prevention of disease. They take into account each intervention’s risk of harm, efficacy, and level of evidence. Patient values and priorities are addressed through an informed consent process in the development of a management plan and throughout treatment.
- Therapeutic options: NDs administer, dispense, or prescribe natural medicines such as food or botanical extracts, herbs, dietary supplements, vitamins, nutraceuticals, and amino acids, provide numerous options including physical and mind-body medicine and educate patients about disease prevention and wellness promotion.
- Communication and collaboration: Naturopathic graduates communicate effectively, in person or via technology, to optimize patient relationships and patient care. They consult, collaborate with and refer to other health professionals as appropriate.
- Professionalism: Naturopathic graduates demonstrate professional behavior, personal integrity and altruism. They are aware of their limitations in expertise, operate within the jurisdictional scope of practice, and refer patients when appropriate. As health care professionals and leaders in the community, they exemplify the principles of naturopathic medicine personally and professionally.
- Career development and practice management: NDs maintain professional development through activities such as post-graduate education, continuing education, preceptorships, and residency programs.
While advanced training and experience may be required for some positions, there are a number of administrative career paths for licensed naturopathic doctors. NDs can serve in a managerial role in healthcare, non-profit leadership, the multi-billion-dollar natural products industry, and even corporate and/or public health.
Many NDs have found rewarding careers in academic medicine. These careers span academic and clinical leadership, faculty appointments, and research scientists.
Many NDs have taken the foundational knowledge from naturopathic medical school to build powerful businesses and brands for themselves, including starting supplement companies, launching medical technology and natural products lines, writing and public speaking.
Deciding to pursue a career in naturopathic medicine is an investment in your future. Here are some valuable resources to consider in your career planning.