NATUROPATHIC PHYSICIAN LICENSURE
Both Dr. Eric and Dr. Kristina have passed the NPLEX examinations, and qualify for a license in the 16 states that license naturopathic physicians.
Currently sixteen states, Washington, DC, and the United States territories of Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands have licensing laws for naturopathic doctors.
In these states, naturopathic doctors are required to graduate from a four-year, residential naturopathic medical school and pass an extensive postdoctoral national board examination (NPLEX) in order to receive a license. Licensed naturopathic physicians must also fulfill state-mandated continuing education requirements annually. In addition, they have a specific scope of practice defined by their state’s law.
North Carolina does not currently have a licensing law. Both Dr. Eric and Dr. Kristina have passed the NPLEX examinations, and qualify for a license in the 16 states that license naturopathic physicians. They currently hold licenses to practice naturopathic medicine in the state of Vermont, keeping up with continuing education and other standards until the time that North Carolina develops its own licensing law.
Licensed Naturopathic Physicians vs Traditional Naturopaths
In a state like North Carolina that does not clearly define the practice of naturopathic medicine, there is some confusion between licensable naturopathic physicians, who have a four-year, graduate-level education and who have passed the NPLEX examinations, and traditional naturopaths, many of whom may have only received correspondence or online training. Both use the same initials, ND, as professional identification, which can make the distinction difficult for the public to identify. It is important to ask where your practitioner went to school and if they took the NPLEX board exam.
A great resource for learning more about these issues is the Education section of the AANMC's website. You may also wish to refer to the alumni pages at a CNME (US Department of Education) accredited school, or the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians.
Please note that many traditional naturopaths are gifted healers. It is important to understand a traditional naturopath has different training than that of a naturopathic physician. We feel that those seeking health care should be able to make an informed distinction between those professionals with similar titles and the same identifying initials. Always check your practitioner's credentials to make sure you are working with the type of naturopath that suits your preference.
Naturopathic doctors in North Carolina who have graduated from an accredited four-year medical program are actively pursuing licensure for the state of North Carolina. Our goal is to achieve licensure for the state, thereby assuring the public that a person using the title of naturopathic doctor is a graduate from an accredited naturopathic medical program with training as a primary care doctor. This license will not put any other healthcare practitioner out of business, but rather will help clarify the different titles being used that is often confusing to the public.
If you would like to help in this effort to bring licensure of naturopathic doctors to North Carolina, please contact the North Carolina Association of Naturopathic Physicians (NCANP) or ask either doctor at Lewis Family Natural Health, and we will be happy to provide additional information.