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Naturopathic Doctor

Naturopathic doctors use natural, non-toxic healing therapies to treat patients’ illnesses.

Also Known As

Complementary Medicine Practitioner, Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Naturopaths (3123.3) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Other Professional Occupations in Health Diagnosing and Treating (D023) 
  • 2011 NOC: Other professional occupations in health diagnosing and treating (3125) 
  • 2016 NOC: Other professional occupations in health diagnosing and treating (3125) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Naturopaths

2006 NOC: 3123.3

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
INNOVATIVE

Interest in co-ordinating information obtained by observing, interviewing and examining patients to diagnose and treat disorders and illnesses with natural methods of healing such as herbal medicines, biochemical therapy, clinical nutrition, homeopathy and counselling

METHODICAL

Interest in operating equipment to perform acupuncture and hydrotherapy; and in performing acupressure, reflexology and spinal manipulation

SOCIAL

Interest in mentoring patients by prescribing treatments and diets that include natural foods and herbs, corrective exercises and other natural methods of healing

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Mar 08, 2016

Naturopathic doctors (NDs) combine modern science with traditional and natural forms of treatment. They treat the root causes of disease. They support the body to heal itself. In general, they:

  • address factors affecting a patient’s health (such as physiology, structure, psychology, environment, lifestyle, and social and spiritual issues)
  • diagnose acute and chronic illness.
  • treat illness using a range of natural and conventional therapies
  • develop personal treatment plans
  • emphasize disease prevention and promote good health
  • encourage patients to take responsibility for their own health
  • work with other licensed health-care providers.

To restore normal function, NDs look for the root causes of disease. These may include:

  • poor nutrition
  • poor posture
  • impurities (in the air, water or food)
  • sensitivities or allergies (such as to foods or chemicals)
  • toxic influences (such as chemicals, drugs and metals)
  • genetic links to disease
  • physical or mental stresses
  • lack of rest or recreation
  • incorrect self-treatment
  • undiagnosed diseases, infections, organisms or imbalances.

After assessing the causes of a patient’s symptoms, NDs create a treatment plan. This may include:

  • plant-based medicine
  • clinical nutrition
  • homeopathic medicine
  • acupuncture and oriental medicine
  • lifestyle counselling
  • physical therapies (such as massage, chiropractic adjustment or, hydrotherapy).

Many NDs take advanced training in specific therapies (such as intravenous therapy or chelation therapy). They refer patients to other health-care providers when the required treatment is beyond their scope of practice (such as when patients need surgery).

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 08, 2016
  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg

Most naturopathic doctors (NDs) work in private or multi-use clinics. They spend part of their working day on their feet examining and treating patients. They also spend time at a desk talking to patients and doing paperwork.

NDs may set their own hours. They often work some evenings and weekends to meet patient needs.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 08, 2016

Naturopathic doctors (NDs) need to possess:

  • the ability to gain their patients’ trust and confidence
  • emotional strength and maturity
  • good communication skills.

They should enjoy:

  • collecting information (by observing, interviewing and examining patients)
  • providing natural treatments
  • advising patients.
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 08, 2016
  • Minimum Education 7 years post-secondary

Training for a career as a naturopathic doctor (ND) requires a bachelor’s degree with pre-med sciences followed by 4 years in an accredited Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine program. To practise, graduates must write and pass the North American standardized Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Exams (NPLEX). They must also pass exams in their jurisdiction. There are 2 accredited Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine programs in Canada:

  • The Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine in New Westminster, British Columbia. The entrance requirement is a bachelor’s degree with a competitive average in biochemistry, biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, psychology and the humanities.
  • The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto. The entrance requirement is a bachelor’s degree with a competitive average in general biology, physiology, organic chemistry (with lab), biochemistry, psychology and the humanities.

In the United States, the following schools offer ND programs:

Consult these institutions before registering in a pre-professional program to ensure their entrance requirements will be met.

In Alberta, colleges and universities located throughout the province may offer the pre-professional courses required for admission to ND programs. Post-secondary entrance requirements vary depending on the institution and the program. In general, they include a high school diploma with a good average in 5 related Grade 12 subjects (such as English Language Arts 30-1, Pure Math 30, Biology 30, Chemistry 30 and Physics 30).

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 08, 2016
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

To practice naturopathic medicine in regulated Canadian provinces and American states, graduates of Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine programs must pass standardized licensing exams and register with appropriate provincial or state licensing boards.

Naturopathic Doctor

Naturopathic doctors blend modern scientific knowledge with tradional and natural forms of treatment to support and stimulate the body's ability to heal itself and treat the underlying cause of disease. 

Legislation

Under Alberta's Health Professions Act and Naturopaths Profession Regulation, registration with the College of Naturopathic Doctors of Alberta is mandatory if you meet identified competency requirements and provide professional services directly to the public, teach the practice of the profession to members or students of the profession, or supervise registered members or students who provide services to the public. Registered members who are authorized by the College may perform restricted activities specified in the Regulation. Only Regulated Members may call themselves naturopathic doctors, naturopathic practitioners, naturopaths or doctors of naturopathic medicine.

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Naturopathic Doctor.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 08, 2016

Most naturopathic doctors (NDs) set up private practices or join clinics with other health-care providers. Some work in research and development, marketing, government, teaching or consulting.

As with other health professions, ND practices take time to build. Success depends on individual initiative, experience and ability.

Naturopathic doctors are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 3125: Other professional occupations in health diagnosing and treating. In Alberta, 96% of people employed in this classification work in the Health Care and Social Assistance [pdf] industry.

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events that affect overall employment (especially in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities that come up when people leave existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities that come up when new positions are created)
  • size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

In Alberta, the 3125: Other professional occupations in health diagnosing and treating occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 20% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 20 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Wage & Salary
Updated Sep 29, 2022

Naturopathic doctors in private practice are self-employed. Their incomes vary with location, number of patient visits and the cost of running a private practice.

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 08, 2016

Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND) website: www.cand.ca

College of Naturopathic Doctors of Alberta (CNDA) website: www.cnda.net

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 22, 2018. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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