Natural doctors, or naturopathic doctors, treat patients based on the six principles of naturopathic medicine. Naturopathic doctors attend naturopathic medicine school for at least four years, just as medical doctors attend medical school. Upon earning their doctorate in naturopathic medicine, natural doctors work in private practice or in natural medicine clinics.
When the National College of Natural Medicine surveyed alumni in 2010, the doctors who responded reported mean annual salaries of between $58,341 and $196,809. Doctors who had been in practice less than four year reported mean salaries on the low end of the scale, at $58,341 ayear. Doctors who had been in practice 10 to 14 years reported the highest mean salaries, at $196,809 a year. The Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medicine Colleges estimates that natural doctors just starting out will earn roughly $20,000 to $30,000 a year.
In addition to money from practicing natural medicine, natural doctors can supplement their incomes through the sale of vitamins and natural supplements. In the National College of Natural Medicine survey, respondents reported that sales of such products represented an average of 22 percent of their annual incomes. Many naturopathic physicians also supplement their income through speaking, teaching or writing. The Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medicine Colleges notes that doctors who offer acupuncture and other therapies also earn extra money beyond their regular practices.
Limitations to Income:
U.S. states and territories that recognize and license naturopathic physicians are Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. Other states allow naturopathic physicians to practice and see patients without being certified, though they limit the treatments the doctors can prescribe. In the National College of Natural Medicine survey, doctors who practiced in licensed states reported the highest earnings. Most medical insurance companies view natural medicine as an alternative treatment and don't cover it, limiting natural doctors’ income. The Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges notes that many natural medicine doctors choose to work part time rather than full time, which also limits their overall income.
Other Jobs for Naturopaths:
In addition to private practice, naturopathic doctors may work for companies that develop or market supplements, vitamins and herbal remedies. Some naturopaths choose to teach, while others go to medical school to become medical doctors, then incorporate the principles of natural medicine into their medical practice. However, the National College of Natural Medicine survey found no significant difference in income between doctors with a naturopathic medicine degree and those who added an additional medical degree.