How to become a Naturopath. Read through our comprehensive job guide to learn more about Naturopath careers.
What does a Naturopath do?
Naturopaths follow the idea that the human body seeks ‘balance’ and can heal itself. They believe that the body needs good nutrition, fresh air, sunlight, exercise and relaxation, and that factors like stress or poor diet can upset the body’s natural balance and cause health problems.
As a naturopath, you would aim to restore a patient’s balance and improve their health using naturopathic principles and healing techniques. You would look at the patient’s lifestyle, diet, and emotional issues as well as physical symptoms. Your work would involve:
- discussing your patient’s symptoms and their wider life
- carrying out a physical examination
- taking blood and carrying out other tests
- making a diagnosis based on the consultation and test results
- designing an individual treatment plan for the patient
- advising on diet and lifestyle
- using and recommending a wide range of treatments, which might include detoxification, diet changes, hydrotherapy, osteopathy, massage, homeopathy, herbal medicine and counselling.
Naturopathy is thought to be particularly useful for chronic illnesses such as asthma, arthritis, high blood pressure and IBS.
Most naturopaths are self-employed and run their own practices. This means that you could choose your own working hours, although you may have to offer evening and weekend appointments to meet the needs of your patients.
You would normally work from consulting and treatment rooms that may be at your home or an alternative therapy or natural health clinic. You may also visit patients in their own homes.
How much does a Naturopath earn?
As a self-employed naturopath, income depends on the hours you work and the number of clients you see. You would typically charge an hourly rate of between £40 and £105.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
To prepare for work as a naturopath, you could take qualifications recognised by the General Council and Register of Naturopaths (GCRN).
The GCRN accredits the following training courses:
- Diploma in Naturopathy and BSc degree in Osteopathic Medicine – offered by the British College of Osteopathic Medicine
- BSc degree in Health Sciences: Complementary Therapies (Pathway for Naturopathic Medicine) – run by the University of Westminster
- postgraduate diploma, aimed at registered medical practitioners, osteopaths and chiropractors – offered by the College of Osteopaths.
To get on to a recognised degree or diploma you will normally need at least five GCSEs (A-C) including science, plus at least two A levels including biology. Alternatives such as an Access to Higher Education qualification may be accepted, and your life experience may also count towards entry. You should discuss exact entry requirements with the course providers.
Recognised degrees and diplomas are at least three years full-time or four years part-time. As a student on a recognised course, you will study anatomy and physiology, nutrition, conventional medical treatments and the theory of naturopathy. You will also develop practical skills and build up at least 400 hours’ supervised client contact.
Training and Development
Once you have completed a recognised course, you will be able to register with the General Council and Register of Naturopaths (GCRN), which also brings automatic membership of the British Naturopathic Association. Although there are no laws about the training and registration of naturopaths, joining a relevant professional body may help your career, for example by providing networking opportunities.
You could also choose to register with an association for mixed complementary therapies, such as the Institute for Complementary Medicine (which runs the British Register of Complementary Practitioners), or the Complementary Medical Association (CMA).
Organisations from a variety of complementary therapies, including Naturopathy, have worked to create a single (voluntary) regulatory body, known as the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). The aim of the CNHC is to protect the public by registering practitioners, setting standards for safe practice and providing a means of redress if things go wrong.
To register, your profession must be a member of the CNHC (this is being rolled out in stages). If you are interested in joining, you should check with your professional body and with the CNHC website regularly for updates.
- Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council
Skills and Knowledge
- a genuine desire to help people
- the ability to build trust and rapport with patients
- understanding and sensitivity
- good listening and communication skills
- the motivational skills to encourage people to change their lifestyle
- a logical approach to problem solving
- have strong observational skills
- some knowledge of biology, chemistry and conventional medical treatments
- the commercial skills to run your own business.
You would usually be self-employed and run your own practice. Success would depend on the amount of time and effort you are prepared to put in to build your list of clients and your reputation. You could develop your business and your skills further by training in related areas such as homeopathy, herbal medicine or aromatherapy.
Interest in complementary medicine has increased over the past few years. Although still relatively small, naturopathy is a growing profession.