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The world is your oyster

Naturopathic degrees offer diverse career paths: clinical practice, research, education, wellness consulting, and more.
A clinical degree in naturopathic medicine can lead to various career pathways.

There is a misconception that once you have a naturopathy degree, all you can be a naturopath in clinical practice. Did you know that naturopaths can contribute and shape the naturopathic profession from outside of a consultation room?

Clinical practice

Naturopaths possess a diverse array of career opportunities across various sectors. In clinical practice, naturopaths serve as a holistic health care practitioner, by using their naturopathic principles and scope of practice to promote patient health education, wellness, and health self-management. Naturopaths commonly establish their clinical practice within the primary healthcare setting. In this setting, naturopaths can work as solo practitioners in private practice and in a multidisciplinary clinic where other practitioners also practice. In a multidisciplinary clinic, there can be different models of care, such as interdisciplinary care that we have already discussed (revisit the start of this week’s content). Naturopaths can also work within the industry setting. This may include working within a pharmacy or health food store with a clinical consultation space. Community clinics are also a type of health care model where naturopaths may conduct their clinical practice. Through community clinics, naturopaths may have private or group consultations. Consultations online are becoming more common with naturopaths employing the use of Telehealth and also through mobile consultations where they conduct the consultation at a patient’s home or another private environment. While there can be diversity in the naturopathic modalities and the clinical settings where naturopaths practice, naturopaths provide care for various acute, chronic, and complex health conditions. Individuals who seek care from naturopaths are across all stages and walks of life, but naturopathic users are more likely to have a chronic non-communicable disease Lloyd et al., 2021.

Research career pathways

In the realm of research, naturopaths contribute to expanding the evidence base of naturopathic medicine. But how do you commence this career pathway? Commencing a research career in naturopathic medicine involves a series of steps to build a strong foundation and establish credibility in the naturopathic field. After the completion of an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in naturopathic medicine, such as the degrees at the National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, individual interested in research need to enrol and complete a Master degree and/or Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD). During postgraduate degrees such as a Master or PhD, students will learn various approaches to conducting research including the value of research to the naturopathic profession. Research students will under take their own research project to develop their research education and showcase their research findings in various means such as peer-reviewed publications, conference presentations, and workshops. Many naturopaths find their niche in academia, conducting in-depth studies, publishing research, and guiding the next generation of practitioners.

Student becomes the teacher

Some naturopaths have a desire to teach the next generation of the naturopathic workforce. In order to become a naturopathic teacher, there is often a requirement of a set number of years in clinical practice and an additional certificate or qualification related to teaching such as a Graduate certificate in Higher Education. Teaching naturopathic students occurs in academic settings such as private colleges or universities where Bachelor of Health Science degrees are taught. Being a naturopathic teacher doesn’t mean standing in front of a class and lecturing. Education has changed over the last 10 years to be more inclusive, collaborative, innovative and engaging for students. Some classes may be held online or on campus or a blend of both. Naturopathic teachers can also develop a skill set in developing naturopathic education resources known as curricula where they develop activities, assessments, and naturopathic content related to the naturopathic scope of practice and health sciences such as biomedical and social sciences.

Let’s create!

The industry beckons naturopaths to engage in product development and manufacturing of natural health products, ensuring quality and safety standards are met. Working in industry such as product manufacturing can provide naturopaths with opportunity to use their manufacturing training to develop a new product to sell to the market. Naturopathy roles in industry don’t just align with manufacturing but can include technical practitioner support, content development and writing, policy and quality control, and practitioner education to name a few.

Policy and government circles

Have a strong interest in law, policy or government? Naturopaths provide valuable insights and expertise, shaping regulations related to the naturopathic profession. While working in law may require an additional degree, there is great value in having naturopaths at the heart beat of important and impactful positions that can affect the profession as a whole. For example, naturopaths can develop and coordinate government submissions with the support of the professional associations or work within the Therapeutic Goods Administration to support the safe and effective release of new products within the naturopathic scope of practice.

Any other career pathways?

Naturopaths are not bound by one career pathway. They can also work in the not-for-profit sector, working with undeserved communities to enhance access to holistic health care and wellness practices, or through health promotion initiatives that can educate the masses on the importance of healthy lifestyles and disease prevention.

This multifaceted career landscape underscores the significance of naturopaths in promoting integrative and natural approaches to health across a spectrum of professional domains.

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Fundamentals of Naturopathic Medicine

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