FAQ: How Much Does a Naturopathic Doctor Make? (Plus Duties)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated September 7, 2022 | Published July 13, 2021

Updated September 7, 2022

Published July 13, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you're interested in overall wellness and helping others, you might consider a career as a naturopathic doctor. Naturopathic physicians can help their patients solve problems and improve their health while earning a high salary. Learning more about the responsibilities and average salaries of naturopathic doctors can help you decide if this career aligns with your interests, skills, values and lifestyle preferences. 

In this article, we discuss the answers to frequently asked questions about naturopathic physicians, such as how much a naturopathic doctor makes and what factors can affect their income. 

What is a naturopathic doctor?

A naturopathic doctor is a medical professional who concentrates on holistic wellness, which means they address concerns with a patient's body, mind and spirit. A naturopathic physician uses natural or alternative healing techniques along with traditional medical services to help them evaluate, diagnose and treat patients. Natural or alternative medical techniques that naturopathic doctors might use include botanical therapy, nutrition, herbs or talk therapy.

In the field of alternative medicine, medical practitioners typically use science with unconventional healing practices to help their patients achieve wellness. Naturopathic physicians appeal to a specific target audience of patients who want to try treatments different from those they can get at most hospitals or clinics. 

Read more: Learn About Being a Naturopathic Doctor


What do naturopathic doctors do?

Naturopathic doctors perform many of the same duties as conventional doctors, such as assessing their patients, conducting diagnostic tests, prescribing medications and offering treatment services. In addition, naturopathic doctors also use natural healing techniques. Consider some common tasks these doctors perform to help you decide if a career as a naturopathic physician is right for you:

  • Diagnose illnesses and conditions

  • Work with patients of varying ages

  • Perform medical tests

  • Consider the mind, body and spirit of each patient

  • Create individualized treatment plans

  • Administer medication and natural remedies

  • Educate patients to prevent illness

  • Recommend activities, foods and lifestyle changes

  • Write reports and detailed records for patients

Related: 10 Herbal Industry Jobs You Can Pursue (Plus Salary Info)


How much does a naturopathic doctor make?

The national average salary of a naturopathic doctor is $158,615 per year. Naturopathic doctors can earn a range of salaries, with the highest-paying naturopathic physicians receiving on average $455,000 annually. Naturopathic doctors may also receive benefits as part of their compensation package, including health insurance, retirement funding or paid time off. 

Related: 12 of the Highest Paying Jobs in Nutrition


What factors can affect a naturopathic doctor's salary?

It's important to remember that a range of factors can affect the individual salaries of naturopathic doctors, including:


License

One of the primary factors that can influence the income of a naturopathic doctor is whether they possess a license. While some states do offer licenses specifically for naturopathic physicians, others don't. 

In states that don't offer licenses for naturopathic doctors, these professionals can practice as naturopaths. This means that they can offer patients alternative medicine treatments and philosophies, but aren't legally able to conduct medical assessments, diagnose patients or prescribe medications. 

Related: What Is a Functional Medicine Nurse Practitioner? Job Responsibilities and Salary


Training

Naturopathic physicians often vary in the type of training they receive, which can affect their income. While some naturopathic doctors complete medical residencies like traditional physicians, many of them don't, as residency options for naturopathic physicians are relatively limited. This means that many naturopathic doctors receive their practical training through other methods, such as by volunteering or job shadowing. 

Related: 22 Types of Spiritual Careers (With Salaries and Duties)


Education

Another factor that can influence the salary of a naturopathic doctor is their educational experience and credentials. Most naturopathic physicians start out by earning a bachelor's degree in a science or health major, like biology, nutrition, botany, public health or chemistry. They then earn a Doctor of Naturopathy (ND) or Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (NMD) graduate degree from a program accredited by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME). This is typically the best option for aspiring naturopathic doctors who want to practice under a naturopathic physician license in their state. 

By contrast, hopeful naturopathic physicians who plan to practice in states without licenses for naturopathic doctors usually pursue a different educational path. These professionals often begin by earning a bachelor's degree. They then earn a graduate degree from a traditional medical school in a subject that their state licenses or certifies, such as in medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, chiropractics or osteopathic medicine.

Related: Osteopathic Doctor vs. MD: Definitions and Differences 


Location

The city and state where naturopathic doctors live and practice can influence their annual income. In general, naturopathic doctors may be able to earn a higher salary in locations with an increased cost of living. For example, while a naturopathic physician earns on average $144,778 per year in Kansas City, MO, they receive a national average annual income of $168,778 per year in Houston, TX.

Related: 9 Careers in Integrative Medicine To Explore


Years of experience

Naturopathic physicians typically can increase their salaries as they gain professional experience. For instance, the national average salary of a naturopathic doctor with minimal or one year of experience is $104,360 per year. In comparison, naturopathic physicians who have between 10-14 years of experience receive on average $160,484 annually.


Specialization

Since naturopathy is a broad area of study, many naturopathic doctors specialize in a specific type of natural medicine and healing to give patients more concentrated care. Having a specialization can sometimes influence a naturopathic doctor's salary. 

Here's a closer look at some specializations available for naturopathic doctors to pursue:

  • Oncology: Naturopathic doctors who specialize in oncology may use natural remedies and psychological practices to help patients who have cancer increase their well-being and health. They may work with oncology teams of other doctors and professionals to offer different treatment perspectives and create a holistic sense of patient health.

  • Pediatrics: This specialization focuses on using naturopathy to help children maintain their health and learn about their bodies. Doctors in naturopathic pediatrics typically want to proactively teach children how to be healthy through natural means that they can combine with more conventional treatments if needed.

  • Homeopathy: Another specialization for naturopathic doctors is homeopathy, in which professionals prescribe small amounts of certain natural remedies to help someone with an illness recover. Doctors can use their knowledge of natural substances like herbs and foods to practice homeopathy.

  • Obstetrics: Obstetrics is a specialization for naturopaths who want to use physical therapies and natural diets to help pregnant people have healthy pregnancies and births. These doctors typically try to create a relaxing, natural environment for pregnant patients but may refer them to specialists or other doctors if medically necessary.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

Explore more articles