Naturopath doctors take a more holistic approach to healing, combining proper diets, herbs, homeopathic medicines and alternative medicine practices -- acupuncture, colonics and reflexology -- with traditional medicine. Their key objectives are to diagnose the main causes of illnesses or diseases before prescribing the appropriate natural treatments. If you want to become a naturopath doctor, you need to get a bachelor's degree and complete four years of medical school. In return, you can expect a salary averaging more than $70,000 annually.
Average Pay and Qualifications
The average annual salary for a naturopath doctor was $72,710 as of 2012, according to ONET Online, or $34.96 per hour. To become a naturopath doctor, you need to get a bachelor's degree -- preferably in one of the life sciences -- and complete four years of medical school at one of five accredited naturopathic medical colleges in the United States, according to the AANMC. You'll spend the last two years of medical school working in a hospital, just as in traditional medical training. Naturopath doctors must pass the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Exam, or NPLEX, to get their naturopathic doctor's license. Other essential requirements are compassion, patience, manual dexterity and listening, speaking, organizational, decision-making and complex problem-solving skills.
Naturopaths usually earn anywhere from $56,000 to $84,000 per year, according to 2013 data from Recruiter.com. Some may earn significantly less until they attain significant numbers of regular patients. Naturopath doctors with more experience may attract more patients and, in turn, earn higher incomes. Since most naturopaths have similar educational backgrounds, experience and business acumen are two factors that impact their earnings the most.
South Carolina Tops
Most naturopath doctors work in offices, and they may also share facilities with medical doctors to save on overhead costs. Some have partnerships with other natural medicine practitioners, including acupuncturists, colon hydrotherapists and reflexologists, who provide services that naturopath doctors might prescribe. In 2013, naturopath doctors earned the highest salaries of $121,360 in South Carolina, according to Recruiter.com. They also earned relatively high salaries in Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Georgia at $116,130, $105,390 and $95,030, respectively. Naturopath doctors earned the least in Indiana, at $45,450. Salaries in Alabama, Montana or Arizona are also on the low end at $51,370, $48,900 and $47,540 per year, respectively.
Plenty of Jobs
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't forecast jobs for naturopath doctors, but it predicts a 24 percent increase in jobs for physicians and surgeons, which is faster than the 14 percent growth rate of all occupations. Population increases among aging Americans should increase jobs for all doctors, including those who practice naturopathic medicine. People are becoming more cognizant of the relationship between diet, exercise and overall health, which might improve job prospects for naturopath doctors.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: How to Become a Physician or Surgeon
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Physicians and Surgeons: Job Outlook
- Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges: The 7 Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges
- ONET: Summary Report for: Naturopathic Physicians
- Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges: Naturopathic Medicine FAQ
- Recruiter.com: Salary for Naturopathic Physicians
- Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges: Naturopathic Doctor Licensure
- Bastyr University: About Naturopathic Medicine: The Basics
- Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges: State Licensure
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