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So how does an ND compare to an MD?


Both an ND and MD received an undergraduate degree in premedical studies, graduated from an accredited medical school, and have spent hundreds of hours working with practicing physicians in a clinical setting. MD’s are required to do a residency program where they complete rotations in many of the major fields of conventional medicine- surgery, pediatrics, family medicine, etc. ND’s complete majority of their clinical training in family based clinics. Residencies are available for ND’s after graduation, but are not mandatory. This is likely to change in the future when more states gain licensure and there are more practicing ND’s.

Here is a chart comparing the curriculum of naturopathic medical schools (Bastyr and NCNM) with conventional medical schools (Yale, Johns Hopkins, Wisconsin). The schools on the far right are 2 non-accredited naturopathic schools. Students graduating from these schools are NOT naturopathic physicians but may use the term “doctor” in states where naturopathic medicine is unlicensed.


Minnesota is unique in North America in that the state has licensed Naturopathic Doctors but also allows anyone to call themselves a Naturopath with any level or no level of training. And while there are some well-meaning practitioners in the State who do a fine job, there is no guarantee of their education, clinical training, or qualifications. So how do you tell the difference? Trained and Licensed Naturopathic Doctors have the exclusive right to the use of the term Naturopathic Doctor. If it is important to you you can look up all licensed NDs here. 

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