Do Natural Medicine Practitioners Have to Gain Any Formal Qualifications?

Naturopathic and homeopathic doctors generally do not have to meet any specific qualifications to be legally allowed to practice, unless the state they practice in has licensing laws or forbids naturopathy. As of April 2015, 17 states, the District of Columbia and two territories require licensure.

In states that have licensing laws for naturopathic doctors, a four-year degree from an accredited naturopathic medical school is required. They must also pass a board examination by the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examination Board. Some states also have continuing education requirements that applicants are required to meet.

The states that currently require licensure are Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawaii and Kansas, as well as Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Vermont and Washington. Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands also have licensing requirements. Florida has a board that regulates naturopathic doctors and some laws that have to be followed, but a formal license is not required to practice.

Tennessee has a licensing process for dieticians, but other forms of naturopathy are illegal and practicing them can result in a Class B misdemeanor charge. Naturopathy is also illegal in South Carolina, where practitioners can be fined $500 and imprisoned for up to a year.