Naturopathic doctors are individuals who practice a form of medicine that focuses on the promotion of wellness and the prevention of illness. They commonly focus on prevention, wellness, lifestyle counseling, nutritional counseling, botanical medicine, and other therapies.
Naturopathic doctors tend to have a holistic approach to health care and they believe that a person’s diet, hygiene, stress levels, exercise regimen, and environment all play a crucial role in their overall health. This is especially true when it comes to treating acute or chronic illnesses; naturopathic doctors often provide holistic treatment plans that include dietary changes, lifestyle adjustments, and therapy.
Read on to learn more about what it’s like to be a naturopathic doctor and what it takes to become one yourself.
Naturopathic Doctor Job Duties
Naturopathic doctors typically perform the following duties:
- Conducting detailed examinations of patients, including physical exams and psychological evaluations
- Performing diagnostic testing such as blood tests and cultures to find the underlying cause of symptoms
- Discussing the risks and benefits of all treatment options with patients to make an informed decision about their care
- Prescribing and administering treatments and therapies such as botanical remedies, homeopathic remedies, diet changes, exercise recommendations, and lifestyle counseling aimed at improving a patient’s health and wellbeing
- Providing counseling services in cases where mental health issues are present in conjunction with physical illness
- Performing chiropractic manipulation or other manual therapy to relieve musculoskeletal pain or dysfunction
Naturopathic Doctor Salary & Outlook
The median annual wage for naturopathic doctors is $98,763. Those earning higher wages tend to work in private practices, and the top earners are making over $328,000 per year.
Demand for naturopathic doctors is expected to remain relatively steady over the next decade. This growth will be due to the growing popularity of holistic medicine among patients who want alternative treatments for their health problems. The number of jobs should not increase significantly because many naturopathic doctors are self-employed.
Naturopathic Doctor Job Requirements
The requirements for naturopathic doctors are as follows:
Education: Naturopathic doctors must earn a doctorate degree in naturopathic medicine from an accredited university. A doctorate degree typically takes four years to complete. Before beginning their studies, candidates should obtain a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as biology or psychology.
Training: Naturopaths must complete an internship or residency period after earning their degree. There are several internships available, including those at hospitals, community clinics, research laboratories and private practices. During this time, naturopaths can gain additional experience before working on their own.
Certifications & Licenses: After completing their residency, naturopathic doctors must apply for a license from a state board to practice as a naturopathic doctor. In addition to providing a license, the board will require candidates to take exams covering various topics.
Naturopathic Doctor Skills
Naturopathic doctors must have the following skills:
Strong knowledge of natural medicine: Naturopathic doctors use treatments that are more holistic in nature, including diet and lifestyle changes, acupuncture, herbal remedies, vitamins, and homeopathy.
Clinical skills: The ability to assess patients and determine their needs is a vital skill. You must be able to listen well, observe accurately, and take notes.
Analytical skills: A good naturopathic doctor will need strong analytical skills in order to analyze data and evaluate patient responses to treatments.
Knowledge of human anatomy: Naturopathic doctors must understand how the body works in order to provide proper care.
Good listening skills: In addition to giving advice and suggestions, naturopathic doctors must be able to listen to their patients’ concerns and fears.
Empathy: Because they often work with people who are going through a difficult time in their lives, naturopathic doctors must be empathetic towards their patients.
Naturopathic Doctor Work Environment
The work environment of a naturopathic doctor is usually clean and comfortable. They can choose to own an independent practice, provide care at a regular medical clinic, or work for a private corporation. Naturopathic medicine practitioners may travel to other states in order to attend conferences or visit their peers. They usually spend their time talking with patients, reviewing health history, diagnosing illnesses, and administering treatments.
Most practitioners keep regular business hours with extended office times when treating patients.
Naturopathic Doctor Trends
Here are three trends influencing how naturopathic doctors work. Naturopathic Doctors will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.
Public Demand for Holistic Healing
The trend towards holistic healing and the increased use of alternative therapies has also led to a growing demand for naturopathic doctors, who combine traditional and modern medicine with natural approaches to wellness.
Naturopathic doctors typically rely on nutrition and lifestyle changes, as well as complementary treatments like herbal remedies or aromatherapy to treat their patients. This type of treatment is often effective at reducing the need for prescription drugs and invasive surgeries, helping people to take control of their health.
Increased Importance of Personal Branding
Due to increased competition, NDs will need to focus on their branding and social media presence as a way to attract patients.
To stay competitive, naturopathic doctors can develop a strong online presence by leveraging sites like LinkedIn or Twitter to connect with other NDs and share their own content that offers valuable insights into the industry.
Increasing Value of Integrative Medicine
More than ever, the public is demanding integrative medicine solutions that can help them manage chronic conditions.
As this trend grows, it will be increasingly important for naturopathic doctors to be well-versed in allopathic medical procedures and to keep up with research that advances treatments for chronic illnesses like diabetes and cancer.
How to Become a Naturopathic Doctor
1. Planning Your Career Path
If you’re thinking about a career as a naturopathic doctor, it’s important to make sure that this type of medicine is right for you. Naturopathic doctors often use traditional medical tools such as diagnostic tests and prescription medications; however, they also incorporate complementary practices like botanical medicine, acupuncture, and nutrition therapy. If you are curious about this field but aren’t sure if it is right for you, consider attending a natural health conference or reading a book about natural medicine to get a better idea of what being a naturopathic doctor entails.
Though education in this field can take years, there are still many opportunities for part-time work during school; consider working at a local pharmacy or at a natural foods store to gain some exposure to things related to the field.
2. Writing a Resume
The best resumes for Naturopathic Doctors should emphasize their natural healthcare abilities, knowledge of alternative medicine, and patient-centered approach to treatment.
If relevant, emphasize your willingness to work with patients in all stages of life– newborns, children, adolescents, adults, and elders–as well as those with varying lifestyles such as athletes and those who are pregnant or obese. Emphasize your commitment to continuing education and training through conferences and online courses.
It’s important to include examples of how you’ve helped clients resolve health challenges and maintain healthy lifestyles. This could be achieved by including details such as your ability to help clients lose weight, reduce stress, or improve their overall well-being.
3. Applying for Jobs
Naturopathic doctors have a unique opportunity to seek jobs in a wide variety of settings, including clinics, hospitals, and alternative care facilities. Before beginning your job search, it is important to ask yourself a few questions: What type of work environment do you want? Do you want to specialize in a particular area of naturopathic medicine? The answers to these questions will help guide your job search.
Once you have decided what you are looking for, start networking with others in the field. Local naturopathic organizations and other groups can be helpful in connecting you with employers who may be looking for someone with your skills and experience.
4. Ace the Interview
In order to prepare for a naturopathic doctor interview, try to get a feel for where you would fit in the practice. What does their website say about the practice’s approach to medicine? How do they market themselves? Is there a specific area of practice that is emphasized over others? If possible, try to get a sense of the interviews that other NDs have had. Ask them about the questions they were asked.
During the interview, it is important to show knowledge of basic naturopathic principles and practices in order to demonstrate that you are aware of the philosophy behind naturopathic medicine. Discuss any experience you’ve had in applying these principles in your personal or professional life. Be prepared to discuss how you would interact with potential patients.
Finally, remember that job interviews are stressful situations for everyone involved, so keep your cool no matter what happens!