Naturopathic doctors seek alternative cures to medical problems.
Naturopathic or homeopathic doctors provide an alternative to the traditional allopathic medicine practiced by most physicians. These doctors focus primarily on providing natural cures to common medical problems, rather than treating patients with drugs or surgery. Naturopathic medical students generally begin making money during their medical residencies. Salaries for those in this field are generally lower than those who practice more traditional forms of medicine.
Naturopathic medical students complete programs of study that typically last four years beyond the bachelor’s degree, just like other medical students. According to the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges, naturopathic medical schools typically require students to have at least three years of premedical studies prior to admission. During this time, naturopathic medical students aren’t generally paid anything unless they hold down part-time jobs while attending school. However, much like traditional medical students, naturopathic students spend much of their time devoted to studies, so they typically have little time for outside work.
Naturopathic medical students continue to learn beyond the completion of medical school. Like other medical students, they complete medical residencies that provide them with hands-on training as naturopathic doctors. During this time, naturopathic medical residents begin earning salaries as they begin to build a patient base. The Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges indicates that naturopathic residents often work other part-time jobs to support themselves during his period. As of 2011, the typical naturopathic medical resident made between $20,000 and $30,000 per year.
While building a client base during their first years of medical practice, naturopathic medical residents build a foundation for earning more later on. The earning potential for naturopathic doctors who have busy practices is somewhere between $80,000 and $90,000 per year, as of 2011, according to the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges. The association also points out that some of the top-paid naturopathic doctors make more than $200,000 per year. By comparison, the Bureau of Labor Statistics points out that the average traditional medical doctor made $180,870 per year in 2010.
The job market for physicians and surgeons is expected to be positive from 2008 to 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Although the bureau indicates that these jobs will be primarily for traditional medical doctors, it doesn’t exclude naturopathic doctors from its projections. In fact, increased recognition from the medical community of the benefits of more holistic approaches to medicine may, in fact, spur growth in the natural medicine field.