What Is a Naturopathic Doctor?
Naturopathic doctors, commonly called NDs, are trained at accredited, four-year, post-graduate medical programs, where they are immersed in a comprehensive study of the conventional medical sciences, including anatomy, physiology, pathology, etc., as well as a detailed study of a wide variety of natural therapies. NDs are trained to serve as primary care general practitioners who are experts in the prevention, diagnosis, management, and treatment of both acute and chronic health conditions.
There are currently four accredited four-year naturopathic medical programs in the United States, as well as two programs in Canada that are candidates for accreditation. Naturopathic medicine has an independent accrediting agency, the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME), which is the recognized authority for establishing and maintaining the educational standards for profession. The nationally standardized licensing exam (NPLEX) is used in nearly all of the states that currently license NDs, and in these states naturopathic doctors practice as independent primary care general practitioners, with the ability to diagnose and treat medical conditions, perform physical exams, and order laboratory testing. In these states, many health care consumers specifically choose NDs as their primary care providers because naturopathic doctors are the only primary care doctors trained in both natural and conventional medicine.