Licensed Naturopathic Doctors and Naturopaths Are Not the Same

Even though the terms “naturopathic doctor” and “naturopath” are often used interchangeably by medical practitioners in other disciplines and the public, consumers seeking a naturopathic doctor should know they are not the same. This is according to the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP), which today released a new FAQ on the differences between a naturopathic doctor and a naturopath, in partnership with the Institute for Natural Medicine (INM).

Here are six things that make licensed naturopathic doctors different:

  1. They are graduates of accredited, four-year naturopathic medical colleges
  2. They are licensed or regulated by states
  3. They must pass rigorous professional board exams
  4. They can order diagnostic tests and, in some states, prescribe prescription drugs and hormones, and perform minor surgery
  5. They must carry malpractice insurance
  6. They must maintain a commitment to lifelong learning through continuing education

“Knowing the difference between naturopathic doctors and naturopaths can help you make informed decisions about which type of provider can best help you,” said Michelle Simon, PhD, ND and Chair of the INM Board of Directors.

The complete FAQ, “What is the difference between a licensed naturopathic doctor and a naturopath?” can be found here.

About the Institute for Natural Medicine
The Institute for Natural Medicine (INM) is a national not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization that provides public education about naturopathic medicine and increases consumer access to naturopathic doctors. As a close partner to the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, the INM strives to increase consumer and physician choice in safe, effective healthcare that improves patient outcomes and lowers costs. For more information visit

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