In Canada, a naturopathic doctor must have a minimum of seven years of post-secondary education. A naturopath must complete an undergraduate degree, similar to a conventional doctor or dentist.
Before starting their journey, lots of students who want to become a certified naturopath will complete a four-year bachelor’s degree in the arts or sciences. Then, they will join a four-year accredited naturopathic program. During this time, they will be trained on basic science, medical science, clinical science, naturopathic principles and therapeutics, diagnostics and clinical experiences, with the help of qualified naturopathic doctors.
Once finished, they must pass thorough licensing exams before being able to practice as a certified naturopath. These standardized North American board exams are called Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations. After passing the exams, graduates will receive the title of an ‘N.D.’ or ‘Naturopathic Doctor.’
This may sound like a lot, but registered naturopaths have lots of responsibilities when it comes to helping people. Responsibilities include addressing the causes of disease, healing a person through personalized treatments, teaching people how to live a healthy lifestyle and sharing the importance of preventative medicines through practice.
Accredited Naturopathic Programs
The Council on Naturopathic Medical Education is responsible for accrediting naturopathic doctoral programs in both Canada and the U.S. This is the only council that accredits naturopathic education and training programs in the country. Their standards for education provide the basis for licensing while also promoting high quality training. Here in Canada, The Council on Naturopathic Medical Education has accredited The Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine in New Westminster and The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto.
The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine
The Doctor of Naturopathy degree offered at The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine consists of more than 3,000 classroom training hours and 1,200 clinical experience hours through their four-year full-time program. Education provided through the course focuses on the history, philosophy and principles of naturopathy. It also explores the art, practice and foundations of naturopathic medicines and biomedical sciences. The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine’s curriculum includes lifestyle management, homeopathy, clinical nutrition, physical medicine, traditional Asian medicine and acupuncture.
The Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine
At the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine, the four-year full-time program consists of 4,800 classroom training hours along with 1,200 clinical training hours. This also culminates in the Doctor of Naturopathy designation. The Boucher curriculum focuses on botanical medicine, nutrition, homeopathy, psychology, physical medicine, counselling and traditional Asian medicine. Students will explore the application of core principles, diagnostics, clinical problem solving and ethical patient care.
Becoming a licenced naturopathic doctor in British Columbia
Those wanting to become a certified naturopath in B.C. must meet certain education, training and evaluation requirements. First, the individual must have successfully completed no less than three years of an arts or science study at an accredited post-secondary institute.
Secondly, the individual must have graduated from an accredited naturopathic school and they must have passed all of the required Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations. These exams include Part 1 – Biomedical Science: anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, pathology and physiology. Part 2 – Core Clinical Science: botanical medicine, emergency medicine, public health, lab diagnosis, diagnostic imaging, nutrition, pharmacology, physical and clinical diagnosis, physical medicine and psychology. Part 3 – Clinical Elective: minor surgery.
The individual must also successfully complete the College of Naturopathic Physicians of British Columbia’s Jurisprudence and Oral Practical.