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 Education, Training & Licensure of
Naturopathic Doctors

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Naturopathic Education and Training
Training for Naturopathic Doctors consists of attending a four-year, graduate-level accredited Naturopathic Medical School. A Bachelors degree which includes standard pre-medical courses is required for admission. Naturopathic education starts with the same Basic Medical Sciences required of all doctors: Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry, Embryology, Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology.

The second phase of training consists of the Diagnostic Sciences: Cinical Diagnosis, Physical Diagnosis, Laboratory Diagnosis and Radiological Imaging. The Academic study concludes with treatment according to Naturopathic Principles, using modalities such as Clinical Nutrition, Botanical Medicines, Homeopathy, Physical Medicine, Hydrotherapy, and Mind-Body Medicine.

In parallel with the last two years of Naturopathic School, students also undergo hands-on clinical training, treating patients under the supervision of other licensed doctors. The final step for students prior to becoming eligible for licensure is to pass the full set of national board exams, the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Exam (NPLEX). This is a set of 13 individual exams: 5 in the basic medical sciences, and 8 covering the clinical diagnostic sciences and Naturopathic Treatment.

Naturopathic Licensure in California
California's Naturopathic Licensing Law, Senate Bill 907, was approved by the California Legislature and signed into law in September 2003. It called for the establishment of a new, Naturopathic Licensing Bureau within the Department of Consumer Affairs. An important aspect of this law is that the Naturopathic Bureau is self-funding through application fees and license fees: no tax dollars are used to fund Naturopathic Medicine in California. This process of fiscal responsibility will hopefully become an example for other professions and programs, both within the State of California, and elsewhere.

After waiting for the fiscal 2004 state budget to be approved, the new Bureau of Naturopathic Medicine began operation in December of 2004 and began processing applications from eligible doctors.

The first Naturopathic licenses were issued to eligible doctors starting in January of 2005.

For a list of links pertaining to Naturopathic Education, Accreditation of Naturopathic Medical Schools, and Licensure, please Click Here.

An important benefit of Naturopathic licensure in California is that it gives the public a means to be confident that the Naturopathic Doctor they are seeing has been fully and properly trained. If you want to find out if the Naturopathic Doctor you are seeing is licensed, please visit the Bureau's website, click on "License Look-Up". Contact the Bureau if you have additional questions.