If you want to be a doctor who is an expert in prevention and natural therapies, Naturopathic Doctors (ND) are primary care physicians who combine the wisdom of nature with the rigors of science. Naturopathic physicians treat thousands of patients throughout their lifespan, every day across North America using a combination of conventional diagnosis and treatment alongside nutrition, herbs, physical medicine and other holistic therapies. NDs receive more training in these areas than any other physician-level practitioner.

ND students are often passionately drawn to the deep doctor-patient relationship forged in naturopathic clinical interactions. They also see value in preventing disease whenever possible, using less invasive routes of care – like lifestyle changes and nutrition, and teaching their patients how to live healthier lives.

Many NDs are drawn to this path through a personal health issue or that of a loved one. Others are exposed to natural medicine from experiences during travel abroad, or just that our practices align with their personal philosophy that values preventive care over symptom management. Our students are often environmentally conscious and advocates for social change.

Career opportunities are ever expanding. According to international consultant, Dr. Forrest Beck, SCNM Graduate 2002 “Never before have naturopathic doctors had as many opportunities as currently exist today. From patient care to consulting, corporate wellness to research, and scientific advising to education, the list of positions that are shaping our future health paradigm are exciting and plentiful. Demand for our medicine has never been higher.”

Tips on Applying to Naturopathic School

Choose a major that you love. Students often ask what they should major in to apply to ND school. Our response is that while science degrees can be helpful (biology, kinesiology, nutrition, psychology), we have successful candidates from varied backgrounds. Select a major you love and that you will be excited to learn more about.

Be a strong candidate. Strengthen yourself as a candidate by demonstrating research about the career and a personal interest in being an ND. This can look very different from ND candidate to ND candidate and range from seeing an ND as a patient, working in an ND office, interning in the field, participating in natural medicine research, or attending conferences and seminars in topics that interest you.

Visit the schools and apply. You can apply to individual schools, or use the Naturopathic Doctor Central Application System (NDCAS) to apply to more than one. If you are curious and want to take the next step in learning more about accredited ND programs across the U.S. and Canada visit www.AANMC.org

JoAnn Yanez, ND, MPH is the executive director of the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges and an advocate for safe and effective preventative medicine.