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Licensing of Naturopathic Physicians

Naturopathic physicians practice in many U.S. states and Canadian provinces as well as foreign countries under various legal provisions. States and Canadian provinces that license NDs at this writing include:


New HampshireNorth Dakota
Rhode IslandUtah

Districts and Territories

District of ColumbiaPuerto Rico
US Virgin Islands


AlbertaBritish Columbia
SaskatchewanNova Scotia
(title protection only)

In other U.S. and Canadian jurisdictions, a varying scope of naturopathic practice may be permitted or protected by court decisions, attorney general opinions, or local custom.

Requirements to Becoming Licensed

Following graduation from an accredited 4-year naturopathic medicine program, NDs must pass the Naturopathic Physicians License Exam (NPLEX) board examinations to receive their medical license. This tests their understanding of biomedical and clinical sciences, as well as their diagnostic and therapeutic knowledge. After passing the NPLEX exams, applicants are then required to pass exams specific to the state or jurisdiction in which they seek to practice.

The first ND licensing exam (NPLEX Part I) focuses on foundational medical sciences. It is similar to those used by conventional medical schools, testing the applicants’ knowledge of anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, microbiology, immunology and pathology. The second exam (NPLEX Part II) assesses an applicant’s grasp of the clinical sciences, diagnosis, and the unique modalities of naturopathic medicine, including clinical nutrition, botanical medicine and physical medicine. After passing the NPLEX examinations, applicants are then required to pass exams specific to the state or jurisdiction in which they seek to practice.

Efforts to enact licensing laws are underway in several states. The best sources of current information about the legal status of naturopathic medicine in a particular area are the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (818 18th St. NW, Suite 250, Washington, DC 20006 or, state or provincial naturopathic associations, or individual naturopathic physicians in that area.

Currently, all states that license naturopathic physicians require graduation from a residential course of study offered through a college approved by the examining jurisdiction. National University of Natural Medicine meets all requirements and is accredited by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education.

Completion of the ND degree at National University of Natural Medicine or another recognized institution qualifies candidates to sit for a board licensing examination that every applicant must pass to be licensed. Similarly, National University of Natural Medicine graduates are eligible to sit for examination in Canadian provinces that license naturopathic medicine. While each jurisdiction has its own examination requirements, an increasing number use the Naturopathic Physicians License Exam (NPLEX) as part or all of the required testing.

Licensing of Acupuncturists

Graduates of the DSOM, MSOM and MAc programs are eligible to apply for acupuncture licensure in the state of Oregon. MSOM graduates are eligible to take all exams administered by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM), which most states use as a basis for licensure. MAc graduates are eligible to take all NCCAOM exams except the Chinese Herbology Module Exam, which is required for licensure in some states.

For additional information, contact:
2025 M Street NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC, 20036

In addition, the MSOM program is approved by the California Acupuncture Board, allowing graduates to sit for the California licensing exam, and is on the State of New Mexico education program approved list.  The MAc program does not meet licensing requirements for the State of California or the State of New Mexico.

For additional information concerning acupuncture licensure in the State of California, contact:
The California Acupuncture Board
1747 N. Market Blvd, Suite 180,
Sacramento, CA 95834

For additional information concerning licensure in the State of New Mexico, contact:
The Board of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
2550 Cerrillos Road
Santa Fe, NM 97505

The following jurisdictions use NCCAOM exams as a part of their licensure protocol:


NebraskaNew Hampshire
New JerseyNew Mexico
New YorkNorth Carolina
PennsylvaniaRhode Island
South CarolinaTennessee
WashingtonWest Virginia

The MSOM program is also specifically approved by the California Acupuncture Board and the New Mexico Board of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. We recommend that you contact the licensing body in the state in which you wish to practice for additional information.

For further information regarding programs at National University of Natural Medicine, please contact:

Office of Admissions
National University of Natural Medicine
49 South Porter Street, Portland, OR  97201
Phone 503.552.1660