If you believe in holistic medicine and want to combine healing that comes from nature with that of modern sciences, you could consider a career as a naturopathic doctor. In this healthcare profession, you get the chance to see patients, evaluate their condition and using traditional healing methods and practices, help them regain their health. Your role would be to bring about healing by creating an environment that is conducive to healing so that the person can heal himself.
Since naturopathy is considered an alternative medical system, you will need to be patient in explaining to your clients how it works. You also need to empathize with the pain that your clients are experiencing and as such, you need to be sensitive as well. You also need to have excellent observation and decision-making skills so that you can address a patient’s concerns.
Why Become A Naturopathic Doctor
One of the reasons to become a naturopathic doctor is that it provides another alternative to treating different kinds of illnesses by stimulating the body’s inherent healing powers. Naturopathic physicians believe in treating the entire body and not just a symptom so that clients become healthier in the future. They also approach treatment in a holistic manner and as such do not only focus on the physical aspect of healing but on the emotional, mental and spiritual aspect as well.
If you believe in this kind of philosophy then this career can be very rewarding. Alternative medical practices like naturopathy are increasingly gaining popularity which translates to more opportunities in the future. It also pays decently, too.
Naturopathic Doctor Work Environment
Naturopathic doctors can work in their private practices, clinics, hospitals and community health centers. Hours can be long and can include overnight work as well as duties on weekends and holidays when on call. Naturopathic doctors work like conventional doctors when meeting with their patients. They take medical histories, order diagnostic tests and then come up with treatment plans based on the results of their initial evaluation and laboratory tests.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have official salary figures for naturopathic doctors. However, The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians revealed in their 2009 AANP Survey that 77 percent of naturopathic doctors see over 31 patients each week and make more than $120,000 a year.
Naturopathic Doctor Career Outlook
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics also does not provide projected employment rates for naturopathic doctors in a ten-year period so it is not possible to provide government data for it. The 2009 AANP Survey of The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians is optimistic that the profession is growing. According to their data, the biggest group of naturopathic doctors has been practicing for 6 to 12 years while the second largest has already been in the business for 3 to 5 years.
Naturopathic Doctor Degree
Before one can become a licensed naturopathic physician, intense education is required. It is necessary to attend a graduate-level naturopathic medical school for four years where education in the basic sciences that traditional medical doctors learn is given.
Naturopathic doctors are also taught clinical nutrition, homeopathic medicine, botanical medicine, psychology and counseling. Before being licensed by the state or jurisdiction to become a primary care general practice physician, naturopathic doctors need to pass professional board exams.