Many people who study natural or alternative health seek naturopathic schools to attain credentials in the field, and there are a dizzying number of options. However, depending on your career goals, not all of these options provide the education you need. Accredited naturopathic schools have an edge over others because they meet specific, specialized standards for the industry.
The Need for Accredited Naturopathic Colleges
According to the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, a licensed naturopathic physician (ND) attends a four-year naturopathic medical school. NDs study the same sciences as MDs, as well as holistic approaches to wellness.
The Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC) was created in 2001 to advance the naturopathic medical profession. The association states that you must graduate from an accredited naturopathic medical college to practice naturopathic medicine. As a result, only seven member accredited colleges that meet their standards are recommended, as well as both federal and academic naturopathic standards.
The following colleges have been selected for inclusion here because:
- They are all AANMC accredited.
- They also earned accreditation by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME), the established accrediting agency for naturopathic colleges and programs in the U.S. and Canada. In fact, CNME was recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as the national accrediting agency for programs offering naturopathic medical degrees.
- Some of these schools have earned additional accreditations. Where applicable, they are included below.
Accredited Naturopathic Schools Worth Exploring
Bastyr began in 1978 and is known for its intense naturopathic program and cutting-edge research. There are two locations in Seattle, Washington and San Diego, California. The California campus offers the only accredited Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine program in California. Bastyr offers 17 resident degree and certification programs, as well as distance learning options.
Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine
Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine, located in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, is known for its small class sizes and rigorous four-year diploma program. Boucher Institute was founded in 2001 and is Western Canada's only accredited naturopathic college.
Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine
Located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine offers specialty shifts in cancer care, sports medicine, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and pediatrics. The campus supports all aspects of a holistic lifestyle by offering an organic cafeteria, health food store, and herb garden.
The college is also home to the Robert Shad Naturopathic Clinic, a teaching clinic that services over 26,000 patients per year.
National University of Natural Medicine
Portland, Oregon is home to the National University of Natural Medicine, formerly the National College of Natural Medicine, which was established in 1956. According to AANMC, the school is "renowned for its excellence in education and research," and especially for its willingness to work on an international level. Master of Science and Doctorate programs are available, as well as many certification programs.
National University of Health Sciences
Founded in 1906 and located in the "windy city" of Chicago, National University of Health Sciences offers the only naturopathic degree program in the Midwest. Bachelor, Doctorate, Masters and Associates degrees are offered, as well as certification programs and continuing education.
Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences
Adjacent to Arizona State University in Phoenix, Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM) offers team-based learning and a program for students to shadow practicing naturopathic doctors. More than 1,000 doctors have graduated from SCNM since its inception in 1993. The college offers a four-year naturopathic medical degree program, as well as a non-degree curriculum.
University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine
At University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine in Bridgeport Connecticut, the Long Island Sound provides the perfect backdrop for naturopathic learning. Falling under the umbrella of the University of Bridgeport, the college of naturopathic medicine boasts small class sizes and an impressive variety of available programs, including programs on acupuncture, nutrition, engineering, business and chiropractic.
Consider one of the following schools if you prefer distance learning or want to become certified in a specific area of naturopathic medicine, such as aromatherapy, herbal medicine, or holistic nutrition.
- The American College of Healthcare Sciences was established in the United States in 1989. Its programs are accredited by the Distance Education and Learning Council and approved by the American Naturopathic Certification Board.
- The University of Natural Medicine offers diploma and certification programs, as well as individually-based Bachelor, Master, and Doctorate degrees. Specialized programs for practicing professionals are also available.
- Accredited by the American Council of Holistic Medicine, the New Eden School of Natural Health and Herbal Studies offers a traditional Naturopath Degree program, a Doctor of Naturopath degree, and a diploma in traditional Naturopathy. They also offer a certificate in Modern Naturopathy for people wishing to be a naturopathic counselor.
A Timely Career
As science catches up with what naturopathic practitioners have known for centuries, it's confirming how the body, mind and spirit work in harmony. As a result, naturopathic medicine is becoming more widely accepted and a variety of career options are opening up. Fortunately, if you're interested in a naturopathy, there are many well-respected schools to choose from that will offer you the education you need to meet your goals.