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What Can You Do as a Naturopathic Doctor?

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The field of naturopathic medicine has experienced steady growth over the past few years and increased interest from the general public. Some of this growth can be attributed to a rise in skepticism towards conventional medicine and the desire of many individuals to take control of their health and seek to prevent illness and disease before it starts.

Consequently, naturopathic medicine has experienced a rise in relevancy and interest, and with it, a growth of new career paths for those interested in practicing naturopathic medicine.

But what is naturopathic medicine, and how does one practice it?

What is Naturopathic Medicine?

Naturopathic medicine is “a distinct primary health care system that emphasizes prevention and the self-healing process through natural therapies.” The core of naturopathic medicine seeks to treat illnesses' root causes while incorporating preventative care. How naturopathic doctors treat patients includes centuries-old healing methods and natural solutions to illnesses.

There are six core tenets of Naturopathic Medicine:

Do No Harm

Naturopathic doctors, like medical doctors, vow not to harm their patients. The difference between the two doctors comes in how far the definition of “harm” goes, with naturopathic doctors believing that some treatments involving heavy medication or radiation can cause more harm than necessary to the body. Naturopathic doctors also prefer less invasive treatments so patients can return to their everyday lives more quickly.

The Healing Power of Nature

For most treatments, naturopathic doctors look to solutions found in nature. This approach to treatment can include herbal supplements, diet changes, and even aromatherapies using natural ingredients. These doctors believe that some of the best treatments can be found in nature and that patients shouldn’t discount the value of natural remedies.

Identify and Treat the Causes

Within naturopathic medicine, there’s an understanding that many of the illnesses that patients seek treatment for may be caused by larger, underlying health concerns. Because of this, and in the interest of holistic and long-term health, naturopathic doctors treat the causes of these illnesses, not just the symptoms or secondary issues.

Doctor as Teacher

Naturopathic doctors foster collaborative relationships with their patients and seek ways to help educate the patient on their health. They also work to assist the patient in preventative care and longer-term lifestyle changes to improve overall health. Through this educational approach to care, the patient is equipped to take control of their own health journey and is better prepared to make healthier choices.

Treat the Whole Person

As firm believers in the connectedness of everything, naturopathic doctors aim to treat the whole person and incorporate holistic approaches to health into their treatments and recommendations. This could include encouraging patients to incorporate new natural treatments into their routines, or it could mean large-scale lifestyle changes.

The Prevention of Illnesses and Disease

All of the core tenets culminate in the naturopathic doctor’s goal towards the prevention of illness and disease. Their methods as care providers lend themselves towards long-term relationships with their patients, the goal of which is helping patients avoid invasive and expensive healthcare solutions later in life. Through implementing natural remedies and preventative strategies, naturopathic doctors hope to keep their patients healthy and in charge of their treatment long-term.

Naturopathic doctors can apply their expertise in several different fields, and not all of them require seeing patients in a traditional physician’s office setting.

What are Some Career Paths for Naturopathic Doctors?

There are generally four types of careers that naturopathic doctors pursue. Below are explanations of each of these and some possible job titles within each role.

Naturopathic Doctors as Clinicians

As clinicians, naturopathic doctors provide direct patient care through appointments with patients, acting as traditional doctors might. The job responsibilities may include building treatment plans with patients, prescribing natural remedies, or performing natural healing practices such as acupuncture.

The job titles may vary, but they generally fall into either general practitioners or specialists. Specialists hone their skills in specific branches of naturopathic medicine, such as oncology or pediatrics.

Naturopathic doctors may see a range of salaries in their careers, depending on what branch of medicine they pursue and how they decide to see patients. However, the average salary is around $95,642, and the job market is expected to grow 4%, with an expected 13,300 new jobs in the industry by 2029.

Naturopathic Doctors as Managers

Besides working in strictly clinical settings, naturopathic doctors can also work as managers in various capacities. Some work in private practices, overseeing general business operations and helping to mentor the other doctors in the practice. Others may work in nonprofit leadership, engaging communities in naturopathic health and helping to improve the lives of those around them through accessible care.

The salary ranges and job growth for naturopathic doctors in managerial positions can be varied, depending on location and what types of things they’re managing. However, the average salary is $104,000.

Naturopathic Doctors in Academic Settings

Since one of the core beliefs of naturopathic doctors is the education of others, jobs in education just make sense for those looking to teach natural medicine. Naturopathic doctors may work as professors at universities that house programs in natural medicine, or they might engage in full-time research and reporting on new developments in the field.

Naturopathic doctors working in education can expect to make around $57,408 a year, depending on where they live and whether they work in an institution or travel to give presentations.

Naturopathic Doctors as Entrepreneurs

Individuals interested in improving the world’s health through natural products and services may consider pursuing entrepreneurship. This role could include anything from product development and distribution to traveling as an inspirational speaker and educating the public on all the possibilities in natural health.

The salary expectations for this branch of naturopathic doctor careers probably vary the most, but consulting with industry professionals and those pursuing similar goals may help you determine if this is a rewarding career for you.

Bastyr University: The Natural Choice for an ND Degree

At Bastyr University, we believe in the integration of scientific and holistic viewpoints in patient care. Our Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine program is rooted in a science-based natural medicine curriculum, with more than 4,100 hours of clinical and didactic instruction.

In just four to five years, you’ll gain a solid foundation in conventional and nature-based medical treatments, equipping you for a diverse and impactful career in natural health sciences. Our exclusive clinical training and residency programs both prepare you for the challenge of direct patient care, and the network of faculty and peers you will develop over your time at Bastyr will spur you on toward great achievements in the natural medicine world.

For more information about how you can engage in healing and long-term, holistic health for those around you, download our eBook, How to Become a Naturopathic Doctor.

Want to know more about how Bastyr is leading the way in natural medicine? Request more information today.

If you’re ready to change the face of healthcare, apply now.



Written by Bastyr

Bastyr University's academic and research programs have received international recognition for pioneering work in science-based natural medicine. We offer a learning environment that fosters serious inquiry, professional dedication and lifelong relationships. Your career begins here, where comprehensive training makes the difference.