Naturopathic medicine is growing in recognition in both the United States and Canada: the following states and provinces all have legislation pending that will enable naturopathic doctors (NDs) to become licensed:
- Illinois (NUHS)
- New York
- North Carolina
(The Naturopathic Doctors Act
of 2008 grants title protection.)
If you live in one of these states or provinces and wish to support ND licensure, now is the time to write your legislators. Use the links above to get in touch with your local naturopathic doctor association to find out how you can support ND licensure in your state.
In Illinois, many NUHS faculty and students are active in the Illinois Association of Naturopathic Physicians (ILANP), which is working toward the passage of state licensing laws governing the practice of naturopathic medicine. Read more about the role of NUHS’s Fraser Smith, ND, president of the ILANP, in this important work in his interview with the AANMC.
To find out more about the importance of ND licensure and how it can and does improve public safety, view the video created by the NYANP, Naturopathic Medicine – The Time Is Now. It features commentary by Andrew Weil, MD, and Paul Mittman, ND, along with other doctors, patients and medical students.
Naturopathic Doctor Licensure
Licensure for naturopathic doctors provides many benefits:
- Allows for better patient healthcare.
- Creates public safety in relation to alternative therapies.
- Reduces healthcare costs via prevention.
- Ultimately has a positive effect on the entire medical community.
In order to be licensed as a primary care, general practice physician by a state or jurisdiction which requires licensing, one must:
- Graduate from a four-year, professional-level program at a federally accredited naturopathic medical school. (See Selecting an ND School.)
- Study a curriculum which includes current medical science and traditional naturopathic theory.
- Take and pass national board exams: Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Exam (NPLEX). This rigorous exam covers basic sciences, diagnostic and therapeutic subjects and clinical sciences.
Candidates for full licensure must also satisfy all licensing requirements for the individual state or province in which they hope to practice. Most of the states and provinces that license naturopathic physicians also have health care systems which allow patients to use naturopathic doctors as their primary care physician.
Licensed states and provinces
Currently, 16 states, five Canadian provinces, the District of Columbia, and the US territories of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands all have laws regulating naturopathic doctors (NDs). In these states and provinces, naturopathic doctors are required to graduate from a four-year, residential naturopathic medical school and pass an extensive postdoctoral board examination (NPLEX) in order to receive a license.
Licensed naturopathic physicians must fulfill state- or province-mandated continuing education requirements annually, and have a specific scope of practice defined by the law in their state or province.
- Arizona (SCNM)
- California (Became law January 1, 2004.)
- Connecticut (UBCNM)
- District of Columbia
- Idaho (Became law July 1, 2005.)
- Minnesota (Became law May 23, 2008.)
- New Hampshire
- North Dakota (Became law April 26, 2011.)
- Oregon (NCNM)
- Washington (Bastyr)
- U.S. Territories: Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands
Provinces currently offering regulation and registration to naturopathic physicians include:
- Alberta (Became law July 25, 2012.)
- British Columbia (Boucher Institute)
- Ontario (CCNM)
Scope of practice regulations vary among licensed/regulated states and provinces, as do the parameters and restrictions for practitioners located in as yet unlicensed venues. Legal provisions still allow naturopathic doctors to consult with patients, making recommendations and suggestions based on prior diagnosis, in several of the yet unlicensed states and provinces.