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Naturopathic Physicians

At a Glance

  • Perform a range of medical duties
  • Treat patients using alternative and natural remedies
  • Constantly interact with patients
  • Usually called naturopaths
  • May need a license
  • Training lasts four years after receiving a graduate degree

Career summary

Naturopathic physicians are primary care doctors who treat patients using natural remedies and practices.

Most naturopaths work as primary care physicians. They treat infants, children, and adults. Naturopathic medicine emphasizes prevention and treatment through education and the use of natural remedies.

Naturopaths ask patients questions to learn more about their condition and medical history. They examine patients and, if necessary, order lab tests. They explain test results and review treatment options with patients and their families. If more than one treatment is available, they help patients decide which option to choose.

Treatments used by naturopaths include:

Naturopaths perform minor surgical procedures such as removing warts, moles, cysts, and sampling for skin cancers or lipomas. They can also apply or remove stitches.

Naturopaths may recommend counseling for their patients. This is because this type of medicine considers the link between behavior, emotions, and physical health.

Naturopaths refer some patients to other health care professionals for specialized medical tests and treatments. They may consult with other physicians to help make a diagnosis.

Related careers

This career is part of the Health Science cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Job duties

Task list

The following list of tasks is specific to naturopathic physicians.

Common work activities

Naturopathic physicians perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, naturopathic physicians:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

Naturopathic physicians frequently:

It is important for naturopathic physicians to be able to:

It is not as important, but still necessary, for naturopathic physicians to be able to:

Skills and abilities

Naturopathic physicians need to:


Reason and problem solve

Use math and science

Manage oneself, people, time, and things

Work with people

Perceive and visualize

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Programs of study directly related to this occupation

Other programs of study to consider


To work as a naturopathic physician, you typically need to:

Education after high school

Naturopathic schools take about four years and grant a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND) degree. Be sure to look for an accredited program if you want to become a licensed naturopathic physician.

In a naturopathic program, you study anatomy and physiology, microbiology, biochemistry, and public health. You also learn how to take a medical history, examine patients, and make a diagnosis.

Before entering naturopathic school, most students earn a bachelor's degree. A pre-medicine or science major is recommended. If you earn a liberal arts degree, be sure to take required courses in physics, biology, and chemistry.

On-the-job training

While in naturopathic medical school, you spend much of the last two years working in a clinical setting. Clinical work emphasizes diagnosing and treating patients with natural remedies and practices.

Helpful high school courses

In high school, take classes that prepare you for college. A college preparatory curriculum (external link) may be different from your state's graduation requirements (external link). You need a very strong background in math and science to become a doctor. Take as many math and science courses as you can.

You should also consider taking some advanced courses in high school. This includes Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses if they are available in your school. If you do well in these courses, you may receive college credit for them. Advanced courses can also strengthen your college application.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups (PDF file) that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know

Many naturopathic physicians are self-employed. When looking for practice partners or when hiring employees, they look for people who are models of good health and habits and who have empathy and respect for others. Naturopaths and their office staff members must be understanding and demonstrate a desire to help others. They must be able to work independently and remain calm and reassuring even in busy office circumstances.

Professional writing, sales, and public speaking skills are helpful when working with dietary supplement companies.


Part-time or volunteer work in naturopathic physicians' offices and clinics may provide an opportunity to observe the daily activities of naturopaths. It may also be helpful to talk with people who work in this occupation. Academic performance in college is very important.

Costs to workers

Naturopaths must pay for malpractice insurance. Those who enter private practice must invest in equipment, office space, and staffing costs. Naturopaths may join a professional association and pay membership fees and annual dues.


Naturopathic physicians must be licensed by the Washington State Department of Licensing. Licensing requirements include:

Naturopathic physicians must also complete 20 hours of continuing education every year to keep up to date with changes in the field. This will increase to 60 hours every two years beginning in 2021. Additional training and licensing is required to practice in a specialty area, such as chiropractics, acupuncture, or midwifery.

For more information, contact:

Washington State Department of Health
Health Systems Quality Assurance
Naturopathy Program (external link)

PO Box 47877
Olympia, WA 98504-7877



Currently, there is no specific statewide wage information available for naturopathic physicians. However, this occupation is part of the larger group called "all other health diagnosing and treating practitioners.

Costs of establishing a practice are high, so net income during the first year(s) is low for new naturopaths. Some may also have substantial educational debt. Earnings rise as the practice develops. According to a national study by the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, 75% of its members primarily worked in direct patient care and averaged $90,000 per year. The survey participants who worked in solo practice averaged $75,000 per year. Naturopaths who worked in hospitals generally earned more than those who were in group or solo practices, or those employed by clinics or medical colleges.

#Saw same salary info on Assn of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges website as we cite here, so left as is, 3/2/11, cj. Updated info from AANP based on 2012 survey results published on their website http://www.naturopathic.org/article_content.asp?edition=101§ion=154&article=833 3/10/15 cj. Not finding any new salary survey results so left as is 12/6/16 cj. Didn't find any newer salary info 4/9/19 cj.

Health diagnosing and treating practitioners, all other (SOC 29-1199)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly $17.57 $25.78 $31.92 $45.91 $70.20
Monthly $3,045 $4,468 $5,532 $7,956 $12,166
Yearly $36,540 $53,620 $66,390 $95,490 $146,010
    Bellingham Hourly $12.77 $16.81 $28.50 $39.39 $54.82
Monthly $2,213 $2,913 $4,939 $6,826 $9,500
Yearly $26,555 $34,962 $59,278 $81,947 $114,025
    Bremerton-Silverdale Hourly $19.94 $25.86 $34.90 $49.22 $60.81
Monthly $3,456 $4,482 $6,048 $8,530 $10,538
Yearly $41,482 $53,798 $72,584 $102,374 $126,486
    Kennewick-Richland Hourly $17.65 $23.22 $32.11 $37.53 $43.07
Monthly $3,059 $4,024 $5,565 $6,504 $7,464
Yearly $36,720 $48,303 $66,778 $78,062 $89,585
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly $17.56 $26.04 $32.48 $48.00 $101.11
Monthly $3,043 $4,513 $5,629 $8,318 $17,522
Yearly $36,519 $54,153 $67,541 $99,849 $210,317
    Spokane-Spokane Valley Hourly $18.94 $25.76 $33.93 $46.65 $66.47
Monthly $3,282 $4,464 $5,880 $8,084 $11,519
Yearly $39,410 $53,580 $70,577 $97,037 $138,254
    Vancouver Hourly $17.11 $24.66 $34.60 $48.28 $57.35
Monthly $2,965 $4,274 $5,996 $8,367 $9,939
Yearly $35,588 $51,289 $71,970 $100,423 $119,291
United States Hourly $19.67 $27.01 $35.56 $52.70 $67.95
Monthly $3,409 $4,681 $6,163 $9,133 $11,776
Yearly $40,910 $56,180 $73,960 $109,610 $141,330

Earnings for naturopathic physicians vary according to the numbers of patients they see, how long they have practiced, and the location of their office. The physician's skill, personality, and professional reputation also affect wages.

Naturopaths who work in a group practice may receive benefits such as paid vacation and health insurance.

National wage information is not available specifically for naturopathic physicians. However, they are part of the larger group of "all other health diagnosing and treating practitioners."

Employment and outlook

State Outlook


The table below provides information about the number of workers in this career in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners, All Other (SOC 29-1199)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 1,822 26.1% 16.1% 198
    Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan Counties 17 11.8% 13.4% 1
    Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Walla Walla, and Whitman Counties 25 8.0% 8.6% 1
    Benton and Franklin Counties 29 31.0% 15.0% 3
    Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap Counties 63 28.6% 11.9% 7
    Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum Counties 51 29.4% 15.2% 6
    Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, and Thurston Counties 40 27.5% 14.1% 4
    Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties 89 38.2% 14.6% 11
    King County 1,117 25.1% 19.6% 119
    Kittitas, Klickitat, Skamania, and Yakima Counties 17 23.5% 13.8% 1
    Pierce County 169 21.9% 15.2% 16
    Snohomish County 100 36.0% 12.4% 13
    Spokane County 97 18.6% 13.9% 9
United States 56,800 10.9% 5.2% 3,400

National employment

Major employers:

National outlook

Natural approaches to health are gaining public acceptance and interest. This is especially true in states where naturopathic physicians must meet licensing requirements.

The outlook depends on the public's interest in holistic, preventive medicine. It also depends on the acceptance by insurance companies of holistic medicine. Insurance companies are beginning to cover alternative medical practices. This is because preventive medicine saves money. As people learn to rely upon healthy lifestyles and prevention, demand for naturopathic care increases.

Employment and outlook information is not available specifically for naturopathic physicians. However, they are part of the larger group of "all other health diagnosing and treating practitioners."

Other resources

National Center for Homeopathy (external link)
North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners (external link)
9220 SW Barbur Boulevard, Suite 119
PO Box 321
Portland, OR 97219
North American Society of Homeopaths (external link)
Washington Association of Naturopathic Physicians (external link)
9500 Roosevelt Way NE, Suite 306
Seattle, WA 98115
What is Naturopathic Medicine? (external link)


Career cluster

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O*Net (external link) occupation

O*Net job zone (external link)

DOT occupation

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Holland occupational cluster