3 Steps to Help You Plan for Naturopathic School
Attending an accredited naturopathic program is the first step toward pursuing your career as a naturopathic physician.
Let’s simplify the process for you and break it down to 3 steps.
Note: One question we’re often asked is if you can get your ND online. If you’ve asked yourself that same question before, read more about ONLINE PROGRAMS NOW.
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, you want to ensure that you’ve taken the required pre-medical courses, including biology and chemistry. In addition to chemistry and biology, most schools require the completion of a psychology/counseling course as well.
You can learn more about each individual school’s prerequisite courses here.
What if I still need to complete my Bachelor’s degree? Which degree is best to pursue?
There is no “best degree” to pursue as you prepare for your ND career. Many ND students completed a Bachelor’s degree in the sciences (Biology, Chemistry); however, we also have successful students with degrees in Psychology, Nutrition, and Kinesiology, to name a few.
Two things to keep in mind are:
- You can have a Bachelor’s degree in any discipline, as long as you have successfully completed the academic prerequisites prior to applying
- Be sure that the school(s) you are looking into for your prerequisite coursework is a regionally accredited school where the coursework will transfer
Meet with a counselor
We strongly encourage you to schedule an appointment with an admissions counselor to review your transcripts and/or to see what additional courses may be needed. This will ensure that you have taken – or plan to take – the prerequisite courses necessary to apply to an ND school.
Do online classes count toward my prerequisites?
This comes down to a case-by-case basis. Some online courses may count, however, certain schools may have policies on lab courses, and whether these course can be taken in an online or hybrid (online and in person) format. Sitting down with an admissions counselor will help to clarify any confusion.
Strengthen yourself as a candidate
Choosing naturopathic medicine as your career means making it a part of your everyday life and committing to lifelong learning. As such, it’s important that you’re able to demonstrate a genuine interest and understanding of what NDs do. Furthermore, you should be able to answer the question: Why do you want to become a naturopathic physician?
How can you strengthen yourself as a candidate? It varies from ND candidate to ND candidate, but may include:
- Seeing an ND as a patient
- Working in an ND office
- Finding an internship in the field
- Participating in natural medicine research
- Attending conferences and seminars in topics that interest you
- Participating in world medicine, stateside or abroad
There is a wealth of resources and opportunities available to help you become immersed in the world of naturopathic medicine. We encourage you to visit either the AANP online ND directory orCAND online directory to discover these opportunities in your area.
2. The Personal Plan – How to prepare yourself to be successful at naturopathic school
Finding success as a naturopathic doctor requires more than just specific coursework; it requires a personal commitment. With 7 accredited naturopathic programs at 8 campus locations across North America, there’s a good chance you’ll have to make some difficult decisions as you embark on your educational journey.
Ask yourself: What do you need to put into place in order to succeed and focus – for a minimum of four years – while at school?
We’re often asked what the best school to attend is. There is no best school, but there is the best fit for each student. That decision should take into consideration geographic location, job opportunities and your desired location following graduation.
You’ll also want to factor in the role and importance of your family and support systems, as well as the academic offerings, school culture and student body of each school.
Will you have to move? What type of support do you have from friends and family? Are you prepared to juggle the demands of school with your other responsibilities?
We cannot stress enough how important it is to sit down and map out your personal plan. We encourage you to develop this plan with those in your support circle. Address potential obstacles, including:
- Being away from home – Will you visit during holidays? Will your family come see you?
- Having limited time for social activities– Don’t underestimate how occupied you’ll be with your studies. It’s important that you and your loved ones are prepared for your lack of free time.
Every journey involves a few missteps. Those who are successful are the students who have a plan in place to address these inevitable roadblocks.
3. The Financial Plan – How will you pay for your education?
You can expect the cost of ND school to be similar to that of pursuing other higher education degrees. On top of the tuition, you must factor in personal expenses (which will vary based on your geographic location).
While some students are able to work part-time during their schooling, we do not recommend you rely on working as your main source for financing your education. Your academic workload is a full one that demands your focused attention. Additionally, you’ll find that scheduling work while on clinical rotation can become extremely challenging, and will add more unneeded stress into your life.
We strongly suggest that students come prepared with a plan for financing their time during ND school and if at all possible don’t rely strictly on student loans.
Information on student loans may be found here. In addition, you may want to consider looking into work-study programs with each individual school.
We also recommend judiciousness in the use of student loans, including taking out the bare minimum needed to complete the program.
It’s advisable to think about your business plan and post-graduation work plan early on in school. Each school offers business courses and career services to students. We strongly advocate proactive planning.
READY TO APPLY?
Or, you can use the Naturopathic Doctor Central Application System (NDCAS) to apply to more than one school at the same time.