Naturopathic medicine has changed immensely and is poised for growth in the decade to come. From legislation increasing access to NDs, to the expanding role of telemedicine and technological advances, it is definitely a time to recognize the growing contributions NDs are making in the healthcare system. Increasingly, services are now being delivered by a team of professionals instead of just one lead provider. Part of that team-based approach often includes naturopathic doctors who can help treat a variety of issues. Naturopathic medicine is a strong option for those who want to have a direct impact on the health of others, build strong relationships with their patients and have career flexibility and quality of life.
ND Job Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, eleven of the top twenty fastest growing occupations are in health-related fields.1 Traditional healthcare is not the only field that is growing rapidly.2 Naturopathic medicine continues to add new jobs and the growth rate is expected to continue at an almost steady 10% per year.3 In fact, naturopathic medicine is now rated as having an “excellent” career outlook. Health careers websites report that “the projection for making a prosperous living in this field are excellent for the foreseeable future. Naturopathic medicine continues to gain acceptance and recognition throughout the United States and Canada.”4
This trend in healthcare is largely due to the fact that Americans as a whole are beginning to turn a corner on their health and realize they need to make significant changes to their lifestyle. For instance, the Center for Disease Control has reported that roughly 30 million Americans have diabetes, but another 84 million are “pre-diabetic”.5 As a result of this news, many people are looking to proactively eat healthier and live more naturally, including seeking naturopathic preventive options.
Recent results of a survey of healthcare providers that showed “28 prominent health systems, hospitals, and cancer treatment centers now have one or more licensed naturopathic doctors on staff at their facilities”.6 Many states are now offering pathways for students of naturopathy to become fully licensed naturopathic doctors. For students who are interested in becoming a naturopathic doctor, the path is rigorous, and worthwhile. It includes graduation from a four-year, doctoral-level program accredited by the Council of Naturopathic Medical Education.
Is a Career in Naturopathic Medicine Right for You?
Take this quiz to find out if naturopathic medicine is the right fit for your career and life goals.
In order to be a successful naturopathic doctor, students must have a strong interest and affinity in science. Besides knowing and understanding evidence-based science, students should be able to think in a complex manner about multiple causes for health problems. A sense of community and commitment to volunteerism is also important, as many naturopathic doctors provide a valuable link to natural medicine for the underserved. Good communication skills are vitally important, as NDs serve as educators to their community and patients and teach them how to care for themselves.
What Specialty Fields are Available for Students?
As with allopathic medicine, future naturopathic doctors may choose to narrow their focus of practice to a specialty. Some seek out residencies in a specific field while others begin practicing as generalists and naturally gravitate toward continuing education and patients with similar health journeys. The naturopathic profession offers career path flexibility that can grow and mature with a doctor’s clinical skill and professional trajectory. There are 10 specialty associations that are affiliated with the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, and this list is growing. Click here to learn more about naturopathic specialties.
The more patients learn about their own health and the root cause of their problems, the more they will continue to seek out naturopathic treatments that blend mind, body, and spirit, in healing the whole person. That is why naturopathic medicine is an exciting, vibrant field for those looking to make a difference.