A Google search of “naturopathic doctors near me” will present a list of local practices that offer naturopathic medicine. That’s one way to find a nearby naturopathic physician. A site like HCPNow.com that offers a free search of practitioners of natural medicine who have registered their site, provided their licensing information and provided information about their practice is another.
Whichever way you choose to find a naturopathic doctor, make sure your search includes doing a little extra research. Specifically, you want to confirm they have a license for the services they provide. This guarantees you will receive treatment from a well-trained health care provider. This is especially important if you are seeking a naturopathic doctor as your primary care physician.
How a Naturopathic Doctor Gets Licensed
Naturopathic doctors, or NDs, attend medical school just like conventional doctors, or MDs. First, they get a pre-med degree. Then they move on to an accredited medical school for naturopathic medicine. The curriculum in the first couple of years mirrors the study of their MD counterparts.
Clinical work begins no later than year, although many schools have introduced clinical training earlier. Classroom work is good, but the experience earned by clinical training is especially valuable in learning how to listen to patients, learn the Therapeutic Order and build a strong foundation for their future practice. Once they complete their medical school training, they must pass a two-part licensing exam supervised by the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners.
It’s important to note, not all states in the U.S. offer licenses for naturopathic doctors. Right now, only 20 states along with Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands offer licenses to practice naturopathic medicine.[i] It’s also important to note that practitioners of other forms of natural medicine like nutrition, acupuncture, chiropractic and massage have their own educational, licensing and certification requirements.
How to Confirm a Healthcare Practitioner’s Licensing
Professionally, a naturopathic doctor’s name is followed by ND, just like doctors of conventional medicine has MD after their names. Many naturopathic doctors choose to pursue education and licensing or certification in other forms of natural medical practices, ie. nutrition. For example, doctors also certified as nutritional practitioners could have CNP after their name. Here’s a list of abbreviations you might see after a holistic practitioner’s name.
Naturopathic doctors and other health care practitioners will often post their diplomas, licenses and credentials in their offices. If you have any concerns, a patient should feel comfortable asking about it. Trust is essential in the relationship between a patient and a naturopathic doctor, or any practitioner of natural medicine. It guarantees open communication and helps patients keep control of their healthcare while ensuring the health care provider recommends and provides the best and most appropriate therapy.
One of the easiest ways to find a properly licensed health care provider is through organizations and online search platforms that verify the license before listing the provider. If you Google a local provider but don’t see them listed on a site like an HCPNow.com, it might be worth recommending they check it out. It guarantees for you they are licensed and can even help the provider get greater exposure.