Q: Can you compare the colleges? Which one is best?

A: We treat as confidential the information we receive from naturopathic medicine programs. All accredited programs have our recommendation, but we do not rank them. Each naturopathic college has unique qualities. We encourage prospective students to visit the campuses and to participate in the schools' student-for-a-day programs.

Q: Does ccems recognize home-study schools or external-degree programs?

A: Many correspondence schools offer N.D. or N.M.D degrees or diplomas. Some are exempt from state regulations because they claim a religious purpose or they do not recruit students from their home states. Not all correspondence programs prepare students for practice as licensed naturopathic physicians, not all programs are eligible for affiliation with our agency. It is not illegal for those who obtain N.D. or N.M.D. degrees from correspondence schools to use the initials after their names; they may not, however, legally represent themselves as physicians or engage in the practice of medicine unless they are otherwise licensed as medical practitioners. Although correspondence courses can be effective in many disciplines, naturopathic licensing agencies believe they are only partly effective in many disciplines of Naturopathy for preparing students as physicians. The Naturopathic Medicine Council of Canada (NMCC) and the Alternative Medicine Examiners Council of Canada (AMECC) consider those who obtain N.D. or N.M.D. degrees from correspondence schools to be part of the naturopathic medical profession providing the candidate passes the ccemsX exams in person. Many disciplines of naturopathy may not be taken by correspondence, such as; osteopathy, massage therapy, ectOthers may be , but all examinations are in person , supervised by The Canadian Council of Naturopathic Examiners (ccems) and follow the norms of the ccems. Make sure the naturopathic program you which to follow is accredited by the ccems. 

Q: Is there a difference between the N.D. and the N.M.D. degree?

A: Universities and colleges may choose to call the naturopathic degree they confer either the "Doctor of Naturopathy" or the "Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine" degree. These are two different names for the same degree. By either name, the degree is usually abbreviated "N.D.," but an institution that refers to its naturopathic credential as the "Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine" degree may abbreviate it either "N.D." or "N.M.D." Presently, all colleges and universities with accredited or candidate naturopathic medicine programs confer the Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine degree or, in Canada, the Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine diploma. In all provinces that regulate naturopathic medicine, naturopathic physicians use the N.D. initials after their names. In Arizona, they may use either the N.D. or N.M.D. initials; the different sets of initials do not indicate a difference in scope of practice, but only a preference by the individual physicians. The N.D. initials are the ones more widely associated with the naturopathic medical profession and are the only ones used in the corporate seals of both the Naturopathic Medicine Council of Canada (NMCC) and the Canadian Council of Naturopathic Examiners.

Q: What does "candidate for accreditation" mean?

A: Candidacy is a status of affiliation with us that indicates a naturopathic medicine program satisfies our agency's eligibility requirements e.g., that it is properly organized, is adequately supported financially, has good facilities and a qualified faculty, offers an appropriate curriculum, and accurately represents itself to prospective students. Candidacy, however, is not accreditation and does not ensure eventual accreditation. We grant candidacy when a program meets our eligibility requirements, complies with our standards to the degree expected for its stage of development, and is progressing toward accreditation. If it does not achieve accreditation within five years, the program loses affiliation with us for at least one year and until deficiencies are corrected. A new program may apply for candidacy at any time, but ccems will not grant candidacy until after at least its first academic year with students enrolled full time. A naturopathic medicine program may not be accredited until it has graduated its first class. Students and graduates of candidate programs are eligible to apply for the Naturopathic Medicine Council of Canada (NMCC) licensing examinations, administered by the Canadian Council of Naturopathic Examiners ccemss branch of each province.

Q: What criteria does ccems use in evaluating naturopathic medicine programs?

A: The evaluation process involves a comprehensive self-study by the program, periodic visits to the campus by ccems teams, and ongoing monitoring. Evaluation teams have three or more trained members, with at least one a practicing naturopathic physician, another a member of the Council, and another not affiliated with the naturopathic profession, its colleges, or ccems. Our Handbook of Accreditation for Naturopathic Medicine Programs , contains our objectives, eligibility requirements, standards, policies, procedures, Articles of Incorporation, and Bylaws. The handbook is available for on-site review and photocopying (no permission needed) at the library or an administrative office of each program affiliated with us, or it may be ordered for $20, prepaid: free by e-mail upon request.

Q: Where may N.D.,s practice?

A: Four provinces allow the practice of naturopathic medicine: British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Oregon, Saskatchewan, have licensing laws for naturopathic doctors. The scope of practice varies from province to province. In provinces without naturopathic licensing laws, many who hold the N.D. degree also hold other degrees, such as the Doctor of Osteopathy, Doctor of Chiropractic, or Masters in Oriental Medicine degree, and they practice under licenses for those professions. Others offer services that do not violate their provinces medical practice acts. Most naturopathic physicians are not in the provinces that regulate the profession.

Q: How is ccems organized?

A: ccems was incorporated in August 1991 under the Nonprofit Corporation Act and is recognized by the Canadian Internal Revenue Service as a Professional syndicate nonprofit organization. Board members are elected by the board itself, who are also the organization's only voting members. Presently, two of ccems's eleven board members are public members; a public member is not affiliated in any way with the naturopathic profession. The board has three positions for institutional member representatives, who are elected rotationally for three-year terms from among administrators and faculty members at the five accredited and candidate naturopathic medicine programs. Our Articles of Incorporation also require from four to six profession members, who must be licensed naturopathic physicians. Six profession members currently serve on the board

Q: How does someone start a new naturopathic college?

A: To site a new naturopathic program within an existing college or university is preferable to beginning a freestanding naturopathic medical college, unless the organizing group has the necessary assets and extensive experience in higher education administration. ccems can refer organizations with the potential for developing a new program to consultants. Any new program, to qualify for accreditation, would likely need to be in a state or province that licenses naturopathic physicians, because students do their clinical training primarily under practicing naturopathic physicians. Additionally, provincial authorities probably would not approve a college's request to grant the N.D. degree in a province that does not allow the practice of naturopathic medicine.

Q: May I be licensed in the Canada if I attend an overseas naturopathic college?

A: Because no international standards for naturopathic education exist other than in Canada, students who graduate from naturopathic colleges in other countries are not eligible to apply for the Canadian Council of Naturopathic Examiners ccems, examinations. The exams are administered twice a year at the provincial level by the branch of its Province. Students who attend an overseas school may have some course credits accepted for transfer to a Canadian school if the foreign school is a graduate-level institution and governmentally recognized. If you plan to spend the first year or two of naturopathic studies at a foreign school, you should first check with one of the Canadian naturopathic colleges to learn if any credits may be transferred later.

Q: May I be licensed in the United States if I attend naturopathic college in Canada, and vice versa?

A: If you graduate from a ccems-recognized college in Canada, some states will accept your licensing application, but several will not. This is because private colleges in Canada do not all confer degrees but "diplomas," e.g., the Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine diploma. Quebec is the only province which confers the degree of Doctor of Naturopathy, N.D., which is a first cycle Doctorate "degree." Some state laws have language that specifically requires an N.D. "degree." U.S. students who plan to attend naturopathic college in Canada should first check with the naturopathic licensing agencies in the states where they will practice to make sure they can apply for a license with a Canadian diploma. 

Q: What is the difference between ccems and the other organizations that accredit naturopathic programs?

A: ccems is the organization that accredits programs which prepare students to become licensed naturopathic physicians. It is the accrediting agency accepted by the Canadian professional associations for licensed naturopathic doctors, and it is the agency recognized by the Naturopathic Medicine Council of Canada (NMCC). ccems is also the only naturopathic accreditor with membership in the Alternative Medicine Examiners Council of Canada (AMECC). Other naturopathic accrediting agencies accredit schools that do not prepare students to practice as licensed naturopathic physicians. None is recognized by the AMECC, and none of the schools or programs they accredit has institutional accreditation from a recognized regional accrediting agency. Comparing the published standards, policies, procedures, and bylaws of accrediting agencies is one way to determine their differences. For ccems, these documents are in its Handbook.