How to Become a Naturopathologist

Overview

Naturopathy (also known as naturopathic medicine) stems from the belief that there is a unique and special energy inside humans that governs all physiological, chemical and biological functions. It is basically a form of alternative medicine that focuses on less invasive medical techniques and encourages the bare minimum use of pharmaceutical drugs and medical procedures like surgery.

Naturopaths such as pathologists and physicians use the fundamentals of naturopathy within the realm of conventional medicine and try for the two approaches to work together for the benefit of the outcome. Homeopathy, vital energy, pseudoscientific practices, acupuncture, ozone therapy, reflexology, traditional Chinese medicine and so on are all examples of various methods used and applied by believers of naturopathy.

A naturopathologist uses their teachings and experience with naturopathy to diagnose, treat and prevent patients from all sorts of diseases, illnesses and health conditions. If you are a believer and advocate of this form of medical treatment and healing then you should strive to become a naturopathologist.

Job Duties

The job duties of a naturopatholgist vary depending on the work setting which may be a medical health center, naturopathy clinic or private practice. Most professionals work for themselves and are self-employed. Nonetheless, the list below reflects the common job duties that you may encounter.

  1. Conduct detailed interviews with patients so that their health issues and symptoms can be documented
  2. Educate patients and their family members on naturopathy and answer all their queries for full transparency
  3. Based on the patient’s history, interview and symptoms, diagnose the patient’s illness or condition
  4. Conduct diagnostic tests such as X-rays, lab tests, blood tests and so on to determine an accurate diagnosis
  5. Performing natural treatments on joints and soft tissue based on the principles of massage therapies, resistance exercises and stretching
  6. Administer treatments such as hydrotherapy, homeopathy, electrotherapy, acupuncture, massage therapies, Chinese therapies and so on
  7. Administer various natural medicine and natural remedies such as food, herbs, botanical extracts, plant formulations, naturally occurring vitamins, food supplements and so on
  8. Consult with other healthcare professionals and colleagues to ensure 360degree protection and optimal care for patients
  9. Document and archive patient files that include information on therapies, sessions, bio data, medical history and so on. Patient information should be well protected.
  10. Keep up to date with new developments and findings in the naturopathy field of alternative medicine

Career Outlook

The job outlook for naturopathologists looks favorable as indicated by a number of sources. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov), the growth in employment for healthcare providers will increase considerably during the course of 2010 to 2020. As reported in August 2012, according to the the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges the general job growth in the field of naturopathic medicine looks attractive. According to the statistics compiled by the AANMC, there were over 3,000 naturopathic doctors in practice in the year 2004 which was a figure that has multiplied 3 times over the previous decade.

Salary Prospects

According to the database at payscale.com, a naturophathic doctor or physician can earn a median yearly salary of $62,000. In 2004, it was also calculated and analyzed by the Association of Accredited Naturophathic Medical Colleges that naturopaths who work in private practice usually earn between $80,000 and $90,000. There was also significant indication that a naturopath could even earn up to $200,000 depending on their experience level and entrepreneurship skills.

It was pointed out by the AANMC that a fresh naturopathic graduate could start off with earning roughly $25,000 per year. For the most part, those that work in the field of naturopathy may be private business owners and that being said, the earning potential could be limitless.

Education Requirements

As with most medical fields, educational qualifications play an important role in shaping a candidate’s career and chances of growth. For a student aspiring to enter the field of naturopathy, they must begin with a 4 year bachelor’s degree program where their foundation will be prepared. The education and courses are quite similar to that of a regular medical program.

Some courses that students may come across are anatomy, physiology, histology, pharmacology, neuroscience, and so on. Towards the second half of the degree, students may be introduced to advanced courses with an emphasis on the field of naturopathy. These courses include nutritional science, botanical medicine, homeopathy, health counseling, holistic studies, naturopathic sciences, and so on. These courses will introduce and prepare students in the field of naturopathy.

Licensing may be needed to practice in some states. Students will be required to clear the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Exam that will cover a wide variety of areas. Before attempting to start their career in particular states, students should look up state laws and regulations as they vary.

Further Reading

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