One of AMCC most popular question from prospective students is: will I be able to practice as a Doctor once I receive my degree? This is especially relevant for people from eastern Canada, because in most provinces THERE – the answer is NO. The fact is that provinces such as Ontario and Alberta I believe have legislated on the topic: you can’t be a naturopathic doctor unless you follow the 4-years in-class program, in one of the few schools that offer it in the country. Bummer.
But What’s in a Title?
Doctor, or not doctor, what’s the difference? Here’s how it goes:
- You’ll be called Naturopath, if you complete the program of Naturopathic Practictioner program.
- You’ll be called Homeopath, if you complete the program of Homeopathic Practitioner.
- And you’ll be called a Bioenergetician, if you complete the program of Bioenergetics practioner. But nobody will call you by that name, it’s a bit of a mouthful : “I’m on my way to see my Bioenergetician.” “You’re what?” “Yeah, I just call her Sarah, she helps me with by blood sugar level.”
You see, in the end, it’s not the title. It’s the relationship you have with your patients.
What about the Letters on my Diploma?
Yes, if you finish all your courses, you will get a diploma. You’ll even get two letters for FREE! Here they are:
- N.D. if you complete the program of Natural Health Practictioner.
- H.D. if you complete the program of Homeopathic Practitioner.
- B.D. if you complete the program of Bioenergetics practioner.
One second. You see the “D”? What does it stand for if not doctor? It stands for Diploma. Indeed, the term doctor is reserved exclusively for actual doctors who wanted to specialized in naturopathy. So really, if you want to be called doctor, you have to go to medical school. Or you ask your wife/husband to change her tune and say : “doctor, can you pass me the salt please?”
Can I Do a Doctorate in Natural Health Sciences?
Of course, everything is possible! But you still won’t be called doctor, unless you go to medical school! I know… it’s expensive. But you can do it in 4 years and in Canada, it’s cheaper. We won’t cheat and tell you you’re a doctor just because you did our Advanced Study Program in naturopathy. Since 2011, we stopped that. We used to call it a doctorate, now it’s called postgraduate studies. It’s basically hands-on knowledge on how to deal with patients, cases and practical aspects of running your own clinic. It’s also a honorific title. You can read all about it in our Postgraduate degree article.
The student who completes the Nutritherapy programs also gets a diploma (included in the price). She or he won’t be called nutritionist, however, since that’s reserved exclusively for the nutritionists. They can call themselves Holistic Nutritionist (I think it’s still legal) or Nutritherapist (that’s my invention). Maybe even Food Doctor is an option. Please check with your local legal aid society.
The Official Answer from the AMCC
So here’s the official answer we send our prospective students who are curious about getting a doctor title after an online-training in naturopathy:
“We do not offer a Doctor of naturopathy program.
There are 2 major philosophies and science of Naturopathy that are being taught in the world:
1. The Medical Allopathic Naturopathy approach, which forms Medical Naturopathic Physicians. This means that medical doctors are becoming Naturopaths. Naturopathic doctors must follow 4 years of study, about 5000 hours, full-time and the content of the program is mainly medicine and even micro-surgery. Then you can do the Nplex.
if you want to practice medical procedures like intravenous or if you do want to be an Naturopathic Doctor, you have to check those schools.
The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine
• National College of Naturopathic Medicine (Portland, OR)
• Bastyr University (Seattle, WA)
• Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (Tempe, AZ)
• University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine (Bridgeport, CT)
The first one is located in Canada, the others in the US. Those schools prepare you to the NPLEX Exam.
2. The Causal Holistic Natural Health approach, which forms Naturopaths or Natural Health Practitioners.
This is our 1395 h program, on line:
Then you become a Naturopath and you can be member of a professional association and give receipts to your patient:
The World Health Organisation Definition
If you read the pamphlet they produced in Switzerland on the topic of naturopathic practices, you’ll find our school offers the Type I training program:
Type I training programmes are aimed at those who have no prior medical or other health-care training or experience. They are designed to produce naturopathic practitioners who are qualified to practise as primary-contact and primary-care practitioners, independently or as members of a health-care team. This type of programme consists of a minimum of two years of full-time study (or its equivalent) of no fewer than 1500 hours, including no less than 400 hours of supervised clinical training. Acceptable applicants will typically have completed high school education or equivalent. Type II training programmes are aimed at those with medical or other healthcare training (western medicine, dentistry, chiropraxis, osteopathy, etc) who wish to become recognized naturopathic practitioners.
What About the Clinical Training?
Distance learning means you don’t have to go to class or to a clinic in order to learn – or train. So we offer the option of clinical case studies where you have to help 3 people you know (no dogs allowed). You get the help of your tutor, as usual, who’s been there all along but comes in really handy when it’s time to practice your knowledge with real people. There are a few of those final papers required throughout the naturopathy program so you’ll hit the 400 hours pretty quickly.