Find & enrol in a Naturopathy Course today!

Studying to be a Naturopath

Last Updated Jun 01, 2023

Studying to be a Naturopath

Naturopathic doctors use natural remedies supported by clinical science to treat the whole person rather than just the symptoms. They are experienced in treating a wide range of health concerns that have not responded to conventional medical treatments alone.

Studying to be a naturopath is an increasingly attractive proposition, given the growing acceptance of natural therapies by mainstream society and the medical profession. Employment opportunities are expanding accordingly, as the range and quality of courses and qualifications improve. If you're looking to make naturopathy a career, read on to find out how to go about it.

What is Naturopathy?

Naturopathy is a holistic approach to health care that relies on natural treatments and traditional healing methods as opposed to medication or surgery. This is not to say that medical care is irrelevant, as naturopaths work alongside other healthcare providers, including medical doctors and nurses. However, their treatment protocol is based on guiding their clients to a healthy lifestyle and diet in order to support the body's natural healing power before resorting to pharmaceuticals to aid in the healing process. This approach aims to maintain the health and vitality of the body by providing it with the necessary support to treat or prevent disease. While conventional medicine treats the symptoms of an illness, naturopathic medicine is more concerned with a patient's overall health.

A naturopath may employ a combination of natural therapies, including counselling, dietary advice, herbal medicine and massage, among others. Naturopaths are typicallyaccredited by national associations, some of whom even completed postgraduate studies, which ensure that they have undergone the required training and complied with the highest standards of naturopathic practice.

Basic healing principles of naturopathySource: Naturopathic Doctor News & Review

The Benefits of Naturopathic Medicine

In a world where health concerns are on the rise, many individuals are seeking alternative approaches to achieve optimal wellbeing. One such approach gaining popularity is naturopathic medicine. As it focuses on treating the whole peprson, naturopathy uses a variety of natural remedies and therapies. Let's explore the numerous benefits of naturopathic medicine and why it is increasingly becoming a preferred choice for many individuals.

Holistic Approach

One of the key benefits of naturopathic medicine is its holistic approach to health. Naturopaths view the body as a complex interconnected system, where imbalances in one area can affect overall well-being. By addressing the root cause of health issues rather than merely alleviating symptoms, naturopaths aim to restore balance and promote long-term healing.

Personalised Treatment Plans

Naturopaths recognise that each individual is unique and requires personalised care. They take the time to understand the individual's health history, lifestyle and specific needs. This individualised approach allows for tailored treatment plans that consider the whole person, encompassing physical, mental and emotional aspects.

Emphasis on Prevention

Naturopathic medicine places great emphasis on preventive care. Naturopaths work closely with their patients to identify and address potential health risks before they manifest as serious conditions. Through education, lifestyle modifications and natural therapies, naturopaths empower individuals to take charge of their health and prevent future ailments.

Natural Remedies and Therapies

Naturopathy utilises a range of natural remedies and therapies to support the body's innate healing abilities. These may include herbal medicine, nutritional counseling, dietary changes, homoeopathy, acupuncture, hydrotherapy and mind-body techniques such as meditation and stress management. By harnessing the healing power of nature, naturopathy offers gentle, non-invasive treatments with minimal side effects.

Integration with Conventional Medicine

Naturopathic medicine can be used alongside conventional medical treatments. Naturopaths often collaborate with other healthcare professionals to provide integrative care. This collaborative approach ensures that patients receive the best of both worlds, benefiting from the strengths of conventional medicine while incorporating natural therapies to support overall health and wellbeing.

Focus on Education and Empowerment

Naturopaths believe in empowering individuals to take an active role in their health. They educate their patients about healthy lifestyle choices, nutrition and self-care practices. By providing knowledge and tools, naturopaths enable individuals to make informed decisions and become advocates for their own wellbeing.

Treatment of Chronic Conditions

Naturopathic medicine has shown promise in the management of chronic conditions such as autoimmune disorders, hormonal imbalances, digestive issues and chronic pain. By addressing the underlying causes and promoting the body's self-healing mechanisms, naturopaths aim to improve the overall quality of life for individuals dealing with long-term health challenges.

The Educational Path to Becoming a Naturopath

If you have a passion for holistic health and a desire to support others on their wellness journey, a career as a naturopath might be the perfect path for you. Becoming a naturopath requires dedication, a genuine passion for holistic health, and a commitment to lifelong learning. Let's explore the five phases involved in the educational path to becoming a naturopath.

1. Undergraduate Education

The journey begins with obtaining a solid foundation in health sciences. Pursuing a bachelor's degree in a relevant field such as biology, chemistry or nutrition provides a strong basis for understanding the human body, biochemistry and fundamental health principles. It is advisable to choose a program that aligns with naturopathic medicine's principles and incorporates holistic approaches to health.

2. Naturopathic Medical School

After completing your undergraduate degree, the next step is to enrol in an accredited naturopathic medical school. Naturopathic medical schools offer comprehensive and specialized education in naturopathy. The curriculum typically spans four years and covers a wide range of subjects, including botanical medicine, nutrition, homeopathy, physical medicine, diagnostic techniques, psychology and counseling. Students gain both theoretical knowledge and practical skills through classroom instruction, laboratory work and clinical training.

3. Clinical Training

Clinical training is an integral part of becoming a naturopath. Naturopathic medical schools provide hands-on clinical experiences to students, allowing them to apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Under the supervision of experienced practitioners, students work with patients, conduct assessments, develop treatment plans and gain valuable practical skills. Clinical training helps aspiring naturopaths refine their diagnostic abilities, patient communication and treatment protocols.

4. Licensing and Certification

After graduating from a naturopathic medical school, the next step is to obtain the necessary licensing and certifications to practice as a naturopathic doctor. Licensing requirements vary depending on the region or country, so it is essential to research the specific requirements of the location where you plan to practice. Typically, licensure involves passing board exams, which assess knowledge in various aspects of naturopathic medicine.

5. Continuing Education

The journey to becoming a naturopath doesn't end with graduation and licensure. Continuing education is crucial for staying up-to-date with advancements in the field and expanding your knowledge and skills. Naturopathic practitioners often engage in ongoing professional development activities, such as attending conferences, workshops and specialised training programs. Continuing education allows naturopaths to refine their expertise, explore new modalities and provide the best possible care to their patients.

Specialisations within Naturopathy

Within the field of naturopathy, practitioners have the opportunity to specialise in various areas of focus. These specialisations allow naturopaths to deepen their expertise, cater to specific health needs and provide specialised care to their patients. Let's delve into some of the specialisations within naturopathy and the unique skills they entail.

Herbal Medicine

Herbal medicine is a cornerstone of naturopathic practice. Naturopaths specialising in herbal medicine study the therapeutic properties of plants, their constituents, and their applications for promoting health and healing. They develop a comprehensive understanding of herbal remedies, formulations and botanical preparations. By harnessing the healing power of plants, herbal medicine specialists can address a wide range of health conditions and support the body's natural healing processes.

Nutrition and Nutritional Counselling

Nutrition plays a vital role in overall health and wellbeing. Naturopaths specialising in nutrition focus on the relationship between diet and health, exploring how food choices impact the body's systems. They provide personalised dietary guidance, educate patients on proper nutrition and develop tailored meal plans. These specialists empower individuals to make informed decisions about their diet, optimise their nutritional intake and support their body's ability to heal and thrive.


Homeopathy is a system of medicine based on the principle of "like cures like." Naturopaths specialising in homoeopathy undergo extensive training in the use of highly diluted substances to stimulate the body's self-healing mechanisms. These specialists study the principles of homoeopathic remedies, their preparation, and their application for various health conditions. By selecting remedies that match an individual's unique symptoms and constitutional characteristics, homoeopathic specialists aim to restore balance and promote healing.

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Acupuncture, a key component of traditional Chinese medicine, involves the insertion of fine needles into specific points on the body to restore the flow of vital energy, or qi. Naturopaths specialising in acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine study the theories and techniques of this ancient healing art. They gain expertise in diagnosing imbalances, understanding meridians and energy flow and administering acupuncture treatments. This specialisation allows them to address a wide range of health concerns and promote overall wellbeing.

Physical Medicine

Naturopaths specialising in physical medicine focus on the therapeutic use of physical modalities to support healing and optimize health. They learn various hands-on techniques such as massage, manipulation, hydrotherapy and exercise therapies. These specialists employ physical medicine modalities to address musculoskeletal issues, improve circulation, enhance mobility and promote overall physical wellbeing.

What Are the Study Options for Naturopathy?

There are a number of different paths to achieving the necessary skills and qualifications to become an accredited naturopath. You can study full-time, part-time, or even through distance learning to obtain your target qualification, which could be anything from a diploma and advanced diploma to an undergraduate and postgraduate degree.

While full-time education may be the first choice for many aspiring naturopaths, distance or correspondence learning has transformed knowledge assimilation for others. Through online learning, students can afford to access libraries and professional tutors internationally as well as interact with other students from all parts of the globe.

Studying naturopathic medicine online also happens to be the ideal option for many students who choose to learn while earning from their day jobs, or for communities not served by an educational outlet. Naturopathy courses typically touch on the medical sciences as well as natural modalities such as flower essences, lifestyle advice, herbalism, homoeopathy, massage and nutritional science. Formal qualifications in naturopathy can be obtained from either of the following:

  • College – private colleges offer diploma courses (Advanced Diploma of Naturopathy) that serve as a pathway to a bachelor degree or postgraduate qualification in an established Australian university
  • University – undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the School of Health and Human Sciences offer qualifications in Naturopathy and Complementary Medicine with a Bachelor of Health Science (Naturopathy) attainable. Some universities offer extension programs that enable the Advanced Diploma level qualification to be upgraded to a degree level

Courses are evaluated and ratified by professional associations, which graduates can join once they have graduated.

The Australian Natural Therapists Association (ANTA) is a prominent accrediting body for naturopaths in Australia. ANTA sets stringent standards for naturopathic education and training programs, ensuring that they meet rigorous criteria. Accreditation by ANTA demonstrates that a naturopathic educational institution provides high-quality training, covering essential aspects of naturopathy, including herbal medicine, nutrition, pathology and diagnostic skills. By accrediting institutions, ANTA ensures that graduates possess the necessary knowledge and skills to practice naturopathy competently and safely. 

Once a student has completed their qualification they typically need to work under qualified naturopathic practitioners for a certain number of hours to gain the required clinical experience.

What Skills and Qualifications Does a Naturopath Need?

A naturopath is responsible for identifying the root cause of a person's condition using a holistic approach to health. Like other natural health practitioners, supporting the body's natural healing mechanism matters more to them than treating the symptoms of a disease. In this respect, they concentrate on developing a treatment plan that is tailored to the individual needs of each client.

Only someone who has successfully obtained accredited naturopath qualifications from a nationally-recognised course provider can get the job done. The ideal candidate must also possess certain qualities and skills such as the following:

  • Good listening and communication skills
  • Curiosity
  • Compassion
  • Open-mindedness
  • Empathy
  • Organisational skills
  • Optimism

It's also worth noting that naturopaths are great team players and enjoy collaborating with other health professionals. They wouldn't hesitate to refer their clients when necessary to ensure their optimal health and wellbeing.

Building a Successful Naturopathic Practice

Establishing a successful naturopathic practice requires not only passion for holistic health but also careful planning and strategic execution. As a naturopath, you have the opportunity to make a positive impact on people's wellbeing and build a thriving practice. To do so, it's crucial to focus on several key elements.

First, defining your unique value proposition and target audience is essential. Identify what sets you apart and who can benefit most from your specialised knowledge and skills.

Next, develop a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes creating a professional website, leveraging social media platforms and networking with other healthcare professionals. Building strong relationships and partnerships within your community can help expand your reach and enhance credibility. Additionally, providing exceptional patient care and cultivating a nurturing environment can lead to positive word-of-mouth referrals and patient loyalty.

Lastly, continue to invest in your professional development, stay updated on the latest research and trends, and consider expanding your services to meet the evolving needs of your clients.

By focusing on these aspects, you can lay a strong foundation for a successful naturopathic practice that nurtures growth, fosters patient satisfaction and makes a lasting impact in holistic healthcare.

What Are the Best Naturopathic Schools in Australia?

Several colleges and universities in Australia provide top-notch training in the field of naturopathic medicine that bridges students to great career opportunities. The Endeavour College of Natural Health and the Health Academy Australia happen to be at the top of the list. Both learning institutions offer an outstanding curriculum and considerate payment plans to assist students with financial issues.

Whether you're looking to secure a degree in naturopathy or a certificate, you have a wide selection of schools to choose from. When deciding where to study, make sure that you conduct a background check of the course provider as well as their members of faculty to ensure yourself of nothing less than quality education. Moreover, see to it that your school of choice is recognised by the relevant professional bodies in Australia, such as the Australian Register of Naturopaths and Herbalists (ARONAH).

The ideal naturopathic school offers a generous list of courses to provide students with the best learning option, as well as practical experience in a clinical setting to give them an actual taste of their chosen career path. A typical naturopathic course covers basic life sciences like anatomy, biology, biochemistry, pathology, as well as topics on counselling and herbal medicine. Students are also introduced to different natural therapies like massage, kinesiology, herbal medicine, homoeopathy and aromatherapy, among many others.

What Are Potential Career Paths for a Naturopath?

Who doesn't want to join the booming naturopathy industry? Healthcare professionals working in this field can work in various settings and treat a wide range of health conditions. Some of them work in hospitals, multidisciplinary or wellness clinics, while others engage in research, which is of paramount importance in this day and age, and there are also a lot of them who work in private practice and enjoy the flexibility of managing their own schedule.

Clinical Evidence for Naturopathic Medicine

Several studies provide valuable insights into the benefits of naturopathy. We've listed some that establish the efficacy of naturopathy across various health conditions. As with any healthcare approach, individual results may vary, and it's advisable to consult with a qualified naturopath or healthcare professional before embarking on any treatment regimen.

  1. A study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine assessed the effectiveness of naturopathic care in managing cardiovascular risk factors. The results showed significant improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol levels and other risk factors among participants receiving naturopathic care.

  2. A systematic review and meta-analysis published in PLOS ONE examined the use of naturopathic medicine in managing chronic diseases. The review included studies on various conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and chronic pain. The findings indicated that naturopathic interventions were associated with improvements in patient outcomes and quality of life.

  3. A clinical trial published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology explored the impact of naturopathic care in breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. The study found that patients receiving naturopathic care experienced better quality of life, reduced fatigue and improved physical functioning compared to the control group.

  4. A randomised controlled trial published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine investigated the effectiveness of naturopathic treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The study demonstrated that naturopathic care, including dietary interventions, herbal medicine and stress reduction techniques, led to significant improvements in IBS symptoms and overall wellbeing.

  5. A systematic review published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine analysed the use of naturopathic therapies for mental health conditions. The review highlighted the potential benefits of naturopathic interventions, such as nutritional supplementation, herbal medicine and mind-body therapies, in managing anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders.

What Questions to Consider Before Enrolling in a Naturopathic School

Before enrolling in a course to study naturopathy, it is sensible to run through some practical issues and considerations to ensure that you have all of the necessary information and are sure of your intended vocation. Some of the vital information can be obtained by asking the following questions:

  • Do you know what it entails to be a practising naturopath?
  • What is the full cost of the course being offered?
  • Is the institution reputable?
  • Is the course recognised by potential employers and/or the government?
  • What career opportunities are available to me after graduating?
  • What level of income can I expect?

Do you like the idea of taking a holistic approach to health and assisting people in gaining full control of their minds and bodies in order to live longer? Look into the naturopathy courses that are available in Australia. This could be the key to your professional success.

Do you have a natural health & wellness business?
Sign up now and advertise on Australia's #1 natural health website.
Or visit our Wellness Hub to help you stay current about the industry.


Originally published on Sep 14, 2018

FAQs About Studying Naturopathy

How do you become a naturopath?

In order to become a naturopath, you have to gain qualifications in naturopathy from a government accredited naturopathic school. After graduating, you will want to join the Australian Register of Naturopaths and Herbalists (ARONAH) as doing so will boost your credibility and consumers' confidence in you.

Do naturopathic doctors go to med school?

No. After completing their bachelor's degree, naturopathic doctors attended a graduate-level course which covers subjects that are similar to what is offered by conventional medical school. However, it also includes topics on nutrition and natural therapies like homeopathy, herbal medicine and acupuncture, just to name a few.

How long does it take to become a naturopath in Australia?

A Bachelor of Health Science majoring in Naturopathy takes four years to complete if you study full time. Part-time education could take longer like eight years.

How hard is it to get into naturopathy school?

It's not as difficult as it may seem, but the length of study varies according to your goal. Besides having completed year 12, there are no other requirements for admission to a bachelor's degree in naturopathy. If you plan on pursuing a graduate qualification in order to become a licensed naturopathic doctor, a degree in health sciences is a prerequisite.

Is a naturopath a good career?

Yes. Having qualifications in naturopathy will allow you to branch out into different fields. Aside from providing consultations in clinical settings, you can run your own private practice, focus on research or offer natural remedies in your own health food store.

How can I ensure the credibility of a naturopathic practitioner?

It is important to choose a naturopath who is accredited by organisations like the Australian Natural Therapists Association (ANTA). Accreditation ensures that the naturopath has met rigorous educational standards and follows a strict code of ethics. Additionally, you can verify if the practitioner is voluntarily registered with the Board of Complementary Medicine.

What research supports the effectiveness of naturopathy?

Numerous studies have explored the efficacy of naturopathic interventions in managing various health conditions. Clinical trials and systematic reviews have shown positive outcomes in areas such as cardiovascular health, chronic disease management, cancer care, irritable bowel syndrome, and mental health. However, further research is still needed to establish the full scope of naturopathy's effectiveness.

Related Topics

Studying Natural Therapies,  Online Courses & Distance Learning,  Naturopathy

Related Courses

Acupuncture Courses,  Allergy Testing Courses,  Animal Therapy Courses,  Antenatal Courses,  Ayurveda Courses,  Biomesotherapy Courses,  Buteyko Breathing Technique Courses,  Colonic Irrigation Courses,  Complementary Medicine Courses,  Continued Professional Education (CPE) Courses,  Cupping Courses,  Dietitian Courses,  Doula Courses,  Ear Candling Courses,  Flower Essences Courses,  Herbal Medicine Courses,  Holistic Doctor Courses ,  Homoeopathy Courses,  Iridology Courses,  Men's Health Courses,  Natural Fertility Management Courses,  Nutrition Courses,  Qi Gong Courses,  Remedial Therapy Courses,  Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Courses,  Weight Loss Courses,  Women's Health Courses


Our Rating