A minimum of 7 years post-secondary education is required to become a Naturopathic Doctor. Like conventional medical schools, Naturopathic medical programs require that applicants meet specific prerequisites such as an undergraduate degree; minimum GPA requirements; and academic prerequisites such as biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, social sciences, and humanities.
Naturopathic students then enter a four-year, full-time graduate-level program at an accredited Naturopathic medical school. Naturopathic education encompasses basic and diagnostic sciences – including anatomy, clinical physiology, biochemistry, pathology, embryology, immunology, pharmacology, physical and clinical diagnosis, and lab diagnosis as well as Naturopathic approaches to improving and maintaining patients’ health. Much of the ND curriculum is devoted to non-pharmaceutical/non-surgical approaches to managing patient conditions, and students spend significant time studying lifestyle counselling, clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, Asian medicine and acupuncture. 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. They must also maintain competency throughout their career by completing a requisite number of hours on continuing education courses.
There are only two accredited Naturopathic medical schools in Canada; The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto and the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine near Vancouver. Both institutions are members of the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medicine Colleges (AANMC), and have been accredited by one of the regional agencies approved by the U.S. Department of Education. In addition, AANMC member schools’ Naturopathic medical programs have been accredited by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME), the recognized accreditor for Naturopathic medical programs in North America. To become a qualified ND you must graduate from a CNME-accredited Naturopathic medical program. Individuals completing correspondence programs or other less rigorous training are not recognized by any of the provincial/territorial/state regulatory authorities and do not qualify for licensure or membership with the national/ provincial/territorial/state Naturopathic associations in Canada or the United States.
All members of NBAND must have graduated from CNME-accredited programs and passed the subsequent NPLEX board exams.