Is a naturopathic doctor a real doctor?

Licensed Naturopathic Doctors are real doctors.  They have met all of the standards of the Council for Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME).

There are many aspects of care to consider when selecting a new practitioner.  So often licensed Naturopathic Doctors are real doctors.  They have met all of the standards of the Council for Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME). These standards include attending an accredited naturopathic medical school that includes four years of graduate-level education and two years of clinical training. In addition, graduates must pass board exams that are administered by the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners. While naturopathic medical education has significant coursework in nutrition and lifestyle, they also cover most of the biomedical and clinical sciences that other doctors study. we select someone based on finding someone who is taking new patients and accepts our insurance because the healthcare system is set up to funnel us into a provider that meets our insurance expectations.  Depending on where you live and the quality of your health insurance, you may or may not hope to have your visit to a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) covered by your insurance.  Because NDs aren’t always covered by health insurance and often work independently, they have more options in where and how they practice.  This is a huge benefit for patients who take the time to find the right naturopathic doctor for them.  This week we will cover some of the basic aspects of finding your perfect practitioner by discussing how you can assure they have the credentials you will want, understanding if your insurance will cover your care and how to find someone who is close enough to where you live to provide you the care you need.

What is the difference between a Naturopath and a Naturopathic Doctor?

Many healthcare laws and policies are decided at the state level.  This is very clear when looking at the practice of naturopathic medicine. In most states the term naturopath can be used by almost anyone, while the term Naturopathic Doctor is reserved for licensed Naturopathic Doctors. This is less clear in states that do not provide licensing for Naturopathic Doctors, so it becomes hard to tell who is CNME trained and licensed and who is less rigorously trained but practicing as a naturopathic professional. The confusion caused by unlicensed states contributes to the problem of potential patients having trouble determining if they are seeing a doctor when they seek naturopathic care. The best way to tell if a naturopathic professional is a fully trained doctor is to see if they are licensed. It is also a good idea to check where they went to school.  There are only eight CNME approved schools in North America; Bastyr University (Washington and California), Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine( B.C. Canada), Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (Ontario, Canada), National University of Natural Medicine (Oregon), National University of Health Sciences (Illinois), Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences (Arizona), Universidad  Ana G. Mendez (Gurabo, Puerto Rico), University of Bridgeport School of Naturopathic Medicine (Connecticut) .  NDSearch provides an easy way to find a licensed and CNME trained naturopathic doctor. NDsearch only allows fully licensed doctors to be part of our search resource making it easy for patients to find a doctor to meet their naturopathic medical needs.


CNME (2020) Overview of Naturopathic Medical Education. Retrieved from

NABNE (2019 – 2020),that%20license%2Fregister%20naturopathic%20physicians.

CNME (2020) Accredited Naturopathic Schools. Retrieved from


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