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Naturopathic physicians combine the wisdom of nature with the rigors of modern science. Steeped in traditional healing methods, principles and practices, naturopathic medicine focuses on holistic, proactive prevention and comprehensive diagnosis and treatment. By using protocols that minimize the risk of harm, naturopathic physicians help facilitate the body’s inherent ability to restore and maintain optimal health. It is the naturopathic physician’s role to identify and remove barriers to good health by helping to create a healing internal and external environment. Naturopathic physicians work in private practices, hospitals, clinics and community health centers. NDs practice throughout the United States and Canada. Qualified naturopathic physicians undergo rigorous training before they become licensed health-care practitioners. NDs treat all medical conditions and can provide both individual and family health care. Among the most common ailments they treat are allergies, chronic pain, digestive issues, hormonal imbalances, obesity, respiratory conditions, heart disease, fertility problems, menopause, adrenal fatigue, cancer, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. NDs can perform minor surgeries, such as removing cysts or stitching up superficial wounds. However, they do not practice major surgery. NDs are trained to utilize prescription drugs, although the emphasis of naturopathic medicine is the use of natural healing agents.
Most naturopathic physician (ND) programs do not require a specific major, just that you complete an undergraduate degree. Therefore, you may major in almost anything. You should consider a major that you enjoy, in which you will perform well and may serve as a basis for further graduate work or employment should you choose not to apply to or are not admitted to naturopathic medical school.
For many students, the most difficult task is to acquire the study skills and self-discipline necessary to attain academic excellence. The success of your transition to college level work depends not only on ability, but also upon preparation, motivation, organization and how well you learn how to learn. It is important that you really learn the material, not just memorize it, as it is crucial to develop your critical thinking skills. The rigorous curriculum of a pre-naturopathic med student demands tenacity and stamina.
Yes, it is competitive to gain admittance into naturopathic medical school. You must be well informed, well prepared, extremely determined and work very hard to gain admission. You should also actively explore alternative careers.
Click here for a listing of core prerequisites for most health professions.
The requirements for naturopathic medical school are similar to that of other physicians. Generally, most naturopathic medical schools require one year of general biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics designed for science majors. All courses should have laboratory components. Many schools also require math, biochemistry, psychology and other social sciences. Additional requirements may apply depending on the schools to which you plan to apply. Students should speak with a PPAC advisor and consult the admissions literature for the specific requirements at each school in which you are interested.
Competitive pre-naturopathic med students also possess these important qualities: competitive metrics, strong personal attributes and have meaningful pre-naturopathic medicine and other professional experiences. Visit this webpage for more information about these critical components of your application and meet often with a Pre-Professional advisor.
No, currently none of the accredited naturopathic medical colleges require the MCAT or other entrance exams.
The criteria for admission varies from school to school, but usually include academic record (GPA), letters of recommendation, demonstrated knowledge and commitment to the profession through experience and personal attributes, and in some cases a personal interview. Personal characteristics such as integrity and maturity are considered. Early in your college career you should initiate several hours of observation with at least one practicing naturopathic physician.
This varies from school to school. However, the majority of students accepted to podiatry school have a GPA of approximately 3.3 or higher. It is particularly important that you perform well in your science (biology, chemistry, physics and math) courses. It is important for those considering professional school to be realistic about the extent to which performance meets admissions expectations.
Admission committees look at the "big picture" as they evaluate applicants. They realize that every student does not hit the ground running when they enter college. Admission committees expect an excellent academic record, but may make some allowances for a problem semester, slow start or rough spot. If academic problems arise, you must bounce back and perform better than ever to show that the problem was an exception, rather than the rule. Use resources such as professor and T.A. office hours, the Learning Commons and other Academic Excellence & Support Services offices.
Yes, most schools require 3 letters of recommendation. Be prepared to secure a recommendation from at least one naturopathic physician and one professor. Letters of recommendation are submitted via NDCAS.
Amounts and types of aid vary from school to school, as does the cost of your education. You should investigate the costs early in your undergraduate career. Knowing that you are probably going to incur a substantial loan debt for naturopathic medical school may affect the way that you borrow for your undergraduate education. Most applicants are eligible for government originated aid; apply during January of your application cycle, even if you are still waiting to find out whether or not you have been accepted. Apply for aid at fafsa.gov.
Preparing for admission to naturopathic medical school requires careful long-range planning and accurate information. The PPAC specializes in providing you with necessary information and helping you develop good planning skills. The staff of the PPAC provides you with help through each step of the way. PPAC provides services including course selection, career exploration, time management tips, information on individual programs, admissions test preparation advice, managing letters of recommendation and links to ways to get experience in health care settings.
American Association of Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC)
Ohio Naturopathic Doctors Association (OHNDA.org)
American Association of Naturopathic Doctors (AANP)
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine Centralized Application Service (NDCAS)