- Education and training
Like a conventional doctor, dentist, or chiropractor, the naturopathic doctor first completes pre-medical studies at university. The naturopathic student then enters into a four-year, full-time medical program at an accredited school of naturopathic medicine. Training includes basic, medical, and clinical science; diagnostics; naturopathic principles and therapeutics; and extensive clinical experience under the supervision of qualified naturopathic doctors. Graduates receive the title "N.D." or Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine.
- Accredited programs
The Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME) is the only government-recognized accrediting body for naturopathic medical schools in Canada and the United States. The CNME has accredited the following naturopathic medical programs:
- The Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine (New Westminster, British Columbia)
- The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (Toronto, Ontario)
- The National College of Naturopathic Medicine (Portland, Oregon)
- Bastyr University (Seattle, Washington)
- The University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine (Bridgeport, Connecticut)
- Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences (Scottsdale, Arizona)
- The Council on Naturopathic Medical Education has granted candidacy for accreditation to the National University of Health Sciences (Lombard, Illinois)
Upon successful completion of any accredited program, a naturopathic doctor is eligible to sit for NPLEX and take provincial or state board examinations to obtain licensure.
- Correspondence programs
None of the CNME-accredited institutions offer any portion of the ND degree via correspondence or the Internet. Graduates of non-accredited institutions, correspondence and/or Internet programs are not eligible to sit for NPLEX, the North American board exams for naturopathic medicine. Graduates of correspondence programs are not allowed to take provincial or state licensing/regulatory exams. No graduate from these schools has ever been recognized/licensed by any provincial or state licensing board. No member of the CAND has received their naturopathic medical training through correspondence courses.
- Qualified naturopathic doctors
A qualified naturopathic doctor is one who has completed a four-year, full-time program at an accredited school of naturopathic medicine. Following the completion of an accredited program, NDs must write and pass standardized North American Board exams known as the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations (NPLEX) in order to qualify for regulation/licensing.
Many NDs in Canada who are practicing in an unregulated province choose to maintain an out-of-province registration in a regulated province.
To find out if a naturopathic doctor is qualified, either check with the naturopathic regulatory board of your province or contact the CAND.
- Regulation in provinces and Territories
British Columbia: Under regulations approved April 9, 2009, naturopathic physicians in B.C. became the first in Canada to be granted prescribing authority. NDs that completed the required certification began prescribing September 7, 2010. The BCNA and the CNPBC are currently focusing their efforts on lab access for NDs.
Alberta: Regulation was passed on July 25, 2012. Initially, NDs will not have prescribing authority but will maintain access to IV substances and have been awarded a number of other controlled acts.
Saskatchewan: The SANP is engaged with the government in preparing bylaws that will assist them in effectively regulating the profession while they move towards updating the antiquated “The Naturopathy Act” under which they are currently regulated. Updating the Act will bring it in line with more current legislation for health professionals.
Manitoba: In-line with BC and AB, NDs in Manitoba will be moved under the umbrella legislation for all health care professions passed in 2009. NDs will be included in the second wave of professions to be moved under the legislation, anticipated to take place in 2013 – 2015, and will be asking for a full scope of practice similar to what has been awarded in BC.
Ontario: On October 19, 2009 an amendment to the Naturopathy Act, 2007 was approved that will allow NDs to prescribe, dispense, compound or sell “drugs” that are designated by regulation. The Transition Council of the College of Naturopaths is in the process of developing regulations that are required to proclaim the Naturopathy Act – expected for early 2013. Until the Act is proclaimed, The Board of Directors of Drugless Therapy – Naturopathy will continue to regulate the profession.
Quebec: The QANM continues its quest for regulation in Quebec. Efforts are ongoing to move their file forward within the Office of Professionals which is responsible for regulation.
New Brunswick: NBAND has prepared draft legislation to regulate NDs and is engaged with the Ministry of Health on amendments before sending the draft legislation out to stakeholders for comment. As in other unregulated jurisdictions, NDs maintain an out-of-province registration in a regulated jurisdiction as well as malpractice insurance.
Newfoundland and Labrador: Despite the fact there are only three NDs practicing on “the Rock” they have an association! Regulation is a vision for the future. In the meantime the three NDs are very busy and hoping that new grads will see the benefit of moving to a province desperately in need of naturopathic medical services.
Nova Scotia: The Naturopathic Doctors Act was passed in 2008 granting title protection and the ability for patients to claim ND services as an income tax deduction. The NSAND is now engaged with government on amendments to the act and the development of regulations.
Prince Edward Island: NDs in PEI have been consistent in approaching government for regulation. With the appointment of a new Minister of Health the PEIAND is once again engaged in discussions with the Minister and staff on the importance of moving forward with regulation.
Yukon: The YNA consists of four hard-working NDs. As yet unregulated they are seeking more NDs wishing to practice in the beautiful north.
North West Territories: While there are only 3 NDs in the NWT they have finalized Bylaws and have officially formed an association. They are actively working with MLA’s and government to have NDs included as a test case in moving health care professions under proposed umbrella legislation – Health and Social Services Professions Act.
USA: Currently, 16 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the United States territories of Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands have licensing laws for naturopathic doctors. For more information about the regulation of naturopathic doctors in the United States visit http://www.naturopathic.org (website of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians).