Many naturopaths present themselves as primary care providers. Doctor of Naturopathy (ND) training includes basic medical diagnostic tests and procedures such as medical imaging and blood tests, as well as vitalism and pseudoscientific modalities such as homeopathy.
The core set of interventions defined by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME) and taught at accredited naturopathic schools in North America includes: acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine, botanical medicine, homeopathy, nature cure (a range of therapies based upon exposure to natural elements), nutrition, physical medicine, and counseling.
In jurisdictions where Naturopathic doctor (ND or NMD) or a similar term is a protected designation, naturopathic doctors must pass the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations administered by the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners (NABNE) after graduating from a college accredited by the CNME. Residency programs are offered at four of these colleges. NDs are not required to engage in residency training, except in the state of Utah.
In 2005, the Massachusetts Medical Society opposed licensure in that commonwealth based on concerns that NDs are not required to participate in residency, and are trained in inappropriate or harmful treatments. The Massachusetts Special Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medical Practitioners rejected their concerns and recommended licensure.
Naturopathic doctors are licensed in the state of Washington.
Traditional naturopaths are those who have not graduated from accredited naturopathic medical colleges and are not eligible to obtain a license to practice naturopathic medicine. In licensed states they are not permitted to refer to themselves as NDs or NMDs. They are represented in the United States by national organizations, including the American Naturopathic Association
(ANA) founded in 1919 by Benedict Lust, representing about 1,800 practitioners and the American Naturopathic Medical Association (ANMA).
The level of naturopathic training varies among traditional naturopaths in the United States. Traditional naturopaths may complete non-degree certificate programs or undergraduate degree programs and generally refer to themselves as Naturopathic Consultants. These programs are often online “degrees” and offer no biomedical education as well as no clinical training. Those completing a Doctor of Naturopathy (ND) degree from an ANMCB approved school can become a Board Certified Naturopathic Doctor. This board certification is in no way the same as holding an ND license and holds no weight in states that regulate the practice of naturopathic medicine.
Traditional naturopathy as defined by the profession and the U.S. Congress in the early twentieth century does not require a license in the United States. Traditional naturopaths are not permitted to practice as NDs or NMDs in the 17 states where naturopathic medicine is regulated.