FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Application and Admission
Careers and Alumni
General College Questions
Program of Study/Curriculum
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the admission or application deadlines?
Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine currently offers prospective Naturopathic medical students the choice of enrollment twice a year: Winter and Fall. Prospective students are encouraged to submit all application materials as early as possible for consideration. SCNM accepts applications for admission as early as one year prior to the intended start date.
SCNM accepts application on a rolling basis until all spaces are filled. Candidates who have selected SCNM as their first choice are encouraged to apply on or before the early decision date.
NDCAS is an online application that allows you to submit a single application online (including one set of transcripts, essays and reference letters) to the naturopathic college of your choice. You can monitor your application's progress and status, and ask for assistance through the NDCAS helpline during business hours. The NDCAS application may be completed all at once or over multiple sittings. The application fee is payable online and is $115 for the first application and $40 for each additional college application.
To apply to SCNM, go to NDCAS. Once you have created your NDCAS account, we encourage you to complete the program designation section first and identify SCNM. This allows SCNM to have access to your information so that we can assist you through the application process and send you updates on scholarship opportunities, interview dates and other important information.
What additional prerequisite coursework is recommended?
In addition to the academic prerequisite course work listed on the Application Process, highly recommended course work includes: Organic Chemistry II, Biochemistry, Medical Terminology, Developmental Psychology, Nutrition, Genetics, Biomedical Ethics, Computers, College Algebra, Statistics, Philosophy of Science, Anatomy and Physiology, Embryology, Plant Identification, Latin and Spanish. Non-science undergraduate majors who are planning on enrolling at SCNM are highly encouraged to take additional life science or biology courses (as listed above). Back to top.
Where can I enroll in a prerequisite course?
SCNM accepts prerequisite coursework from regionally accredited colleges and universities. This includes community college courses. Please keep in mind that many courses are sequential and therefore require pre-planning. For example, Organic Chemistry typically has a prerequisite of General Chemistry.
Did you know that Arizona has the largest community college district in the U.S.? Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) comprises over 10 colleges and is one of the largest higher education systems in the world. This is ideal for SCNM prospective students who are searching for flexibility and multiple offerings for prerequisite coursework. Click here to go to the MCCCD website. Back to top.
How competitive is the admissions process?
Application to Naturopathic medical school is competitive. Many individuals, such as yourself, are discovering this growing profession and are ready to become a different kind of doctor. SCNM receives, on average, three (3) applications to every one seat that is available in the class. Therefore, early application is encouraged. Back to top.
Who makes up your student body?
We have a diverse group of students at Southwest College. Students come from across the United States and internationally. Students also come from very diverse backgrounds and different age groups. One-third of our students have been involved in health care in some manner. Some students come to us after having personally experienced the benefits of Naturopathic medicine and others have only read about its benefits in healing. Back to top.
Careers and Alumni
Is Naturopathic medicine a good career choice?
Yes. Wanting to become a Naturopathic doctor is an excellent decision. A career as a Naturopathic doctor is exciting, challenging, and personally and financially rewarding. Now is an excellent time to enter the profession. Naturopathic medicine is gaining increased recognition and respect within the health care community, and Naturopathic doctors are experiencing a strong and growing patient base. Back to top.
What are graduates doing with an ND degree?
Licensed ND graduates have many career options. The majority of SCNM graduates go into clinical practice. In a recent SCNM study, it was discovered that 47% of graduates work in or open their own Naturopathic medical office/clinic and 48% go into practice in an integrated clinical setting (with other health-care practitioners such as MDs, DOs or DCs).
As a clinical practitioner, an ND may go into a group practice or private practice. Naturopathic doctors work in group practices that may include MDs, Osteopaths, Chiropractors and Acupuncturists. Other Naturopathic doctors open private practices or may work as a consultant for a natural foods company, vitamin company or herbal company. NDs can focus on areas such as oncology, cardiology, or natural childbirth - to name a few - or act as a primary care physician.
NDs may also conduct research, write and publish, hold academic positions within Naturopathic education or lecture.
The Southwest College ND program prepares graduates for a wide range of career opportunities:
- Primary Care Doctors (respecting the integrated relationship of body & mind while combining the wisdom of traditional healing with the rigor of scientific methods)
- Medical and natural product industry consulting
- Medical and herbal sales/marketing
- Scientific research and writing
General College Questions
What is the value of an SCNM education?
SCNM has the most progressive and integrative Naturopathic medical degree program available. We are considered the leader in Naturopathic medical education and Naturopathic medical research. If you have not visited SCNM in person, make plans to come to SCNM soon.
SCNM grads go on to great things. We support our students and graduates through our comprehensive, supportive and aggressive Career Services Center with access to over 100 physicians, clinics, and companies which give SCNM students an edge on high paying career opportunities. Our Career Center boasts the record for assisting in placing over 60% of all graduating physicians prior to graduation. Back to top.
How does the SCNM Naturopathic Medicine program compare to other schools?
There are currently four (4) US colleges and two (2) Canadian colleges that are recognized and accredited to offer the ND program as recognized by the CNME. Though each US school prepares you for the same national licensing exam, we feel our school is unique in a variety of ways:
- Integrated clinical education where students train with NDs, MDs and DOs in office, medical center and hospital settings.
- Best conditions and atmosphere for learning. Arizona offers the widest scope of practice for NDs anywhere in the country; therefore, our students gain real-life clinical experience in an actual integrated medical model.
- Beautiful campus in sunny Arizona.
- We are noted as being innovative and are one of the youngest colleges which can allow for easier modification to the existing curriculum and more opportunity for creativity.
- We have a very close community due to the size of our campus. We have a supportive community both in staff and students. Come and visit, sit in on classes and experience Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine for yourself.
- Southwest College was the first Naturopathic medical college to create a Career Center focused on working with students and alumni to find the career opportunity of your dreams. We also acknowledge that you need business skills prior to graduation to begin your own practice. Business classes are incorporated into the ND program to advance your management and business detail.
- We have visiting faculty teach for one (1) week at the start of selected quarters. We call these courses ‘Intensives’. This program allows students to gain exposure from national and international experts in the field and an opportunity to network. Back to top.
Which Naturopathic medical school is right for me?
That decision is ultimately up to you. Where you decide to pursue your Naturopathic medical degree will be a decision that impacts the rest of your professional career. We feel confident that Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine offers the most innovative and integrative education available to those who wish to become Naturopathic doctors. Contact us to find out how you can become a part of the Southwest College community. Back to top.
I understand that Southwest College is accredited. Why is this important?
Accreditation is very important as it makes an overall statement about the quality and legitimacy of a college or a program. Often, the accreditation of an institution can determine the future of a school’s graduates and how they are recognized by the community. For more information, see licensure/accreditation information from the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges website.
Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine is accredited by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME). The CNME is the accrediting agency for Naturopathic medical colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. Only graduates of Naturopathic colleges and programs accredited, or candidates for accreditation, with CNME are eligible to apply for the Naturopathic Physician Licensing Examinations (NPLEX)as administered by the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners (NABNE).
Southwest College is also accredited with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC). Southwest College is approved by the Arizona Naturopathic Physicians Board of Medical Examiners and the Arizona Board of Private Post-Secondary Education.
Is location important?
Absolutely. Your years in medical school should provide you with more than just a solid education; they should provide you with opportunities for personal growth, human interaction, and professional exposure. An eclectic student population, cultural diversity, and a healthy relationship with the local health care community are true measures of a medical program's potential.
Southwest College is situated in a residential neighborhood in Tempe, Arizona. As a suburb of Phoenix, Tempe enjoys close proximity to the mountains, desert and many recreational and cultural facilities. In addition to a beautiful sunny climate, Arizona enjoys the widest scope of practice for Naturopathic doctors within the United States, providing for an excellent learning environment and laboratory for students. One of the largest benefits of Arizona's scope of practice includes increasing opportunities to work within a model integrated health care system. Back to top.
Describe Southwest College's faculty including the average student/faculty ratios.
Southwest College has recruited and retained nationally renowned clinicians and leaders to its faculty. Students are challenged in the classroom by some of the best clinicians in the country. In addition, Southwest College offers excellent student to faculty ratios. The student to faculty ratio is 14:1, while our student to clinician ratio is 6:1. SCNM has made an effort to limit class sizes and expand clinical training opportunities to maintain these outstanding ratios. Back to top.
Is technology used to enhance the learning environment?
Yes. Southwest College is on the cutting edge of technology in the classroom. Rooms are equipped with multi-media LCD, video, and internet access to enhance student and instructor course experience. We have a wireless internet campus and online course notes and information are available to students as an additional resource. Computers and software are available for student use in the College Library and at the Medical Center. Back to top.
What is SCNM’s philosophy?
Southwest College prepares students to become Naturopathic physicians trained and educated in the principles of Naturopathic medicine. We serve the public by providing quality education, research, and natural medical care in the science and art of health promotion, disease management, and prevention based upon these principles. We take pride in offering our students an elite and attentive learning environment. Southwest College promotes education through innovation, integration and collaboration. Back to top.
Program of Study/Curriculum
What are the strengths of the curriculum?
Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine’s curriculum is science based and comprehensive. It offers a solid foundation in the basic sciences and features several required courses in every Naturopathic modality. What does this mean? Students are educated in all modalities and methods of treatment, including botanical and homeopathic medicine, nutrition, acupuncture, manipulation and mind/body medicine. Therefore, a student is educated to be a manager of integrated Naturopathic medical care. Back to top.
Where do students gain direct clinic experience and exposure to patients?
The Southwest Naturopathic Medical Center, provides students with an integrative approach to medicine while encompassing natural philosophies and emphasizing the practical information necessary to establish a successful practice. In addition, students have available to them over 100 elective-site and extended site experiences in clinical training, which currently reach over 50,000 members in the community. Clinical experiences with NDs, MDs and DOs are available, as well as exposure to clinics specializing in geriatrics, general practice family medicine, cancer treatment, HIV/AIDS, drug/alcohol rehabilitation, women's health care, allergy treatment, and a mobile medical unit that travels to lower income communities.
Our Medical Center also embodies true health and environmental consciousness with all natural carpet fibers, recycled materials and non-toxic paint and building materials. This ''green clinic'' sets a good example for student clinicians and patients. Back to top.
What about research?
The SCNM Research Department conducts complementary, integrative biomedical research. Research collaborations with other academic and medical institutions (University of Arizona, Arizona State University Biodesign Institute, Translational Genomics Institute) are fostered through interdisciplinary projects. The research environment at SCNM promotes career development opportunities for future research in complementary/alternative medicine. The IRB at SCNM is registered with the Department of Health and Human Services. Back to top.
What is the scope of practice for a Naturopathic physician?
The main healing modalities for an ND include acupuncture, homeopathy, botanical medicine, nutritional medicine, mind-body medicine and physical medicine. Other areas include natural childbirth, minor surgery, hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, etc. The scope of practice for NDs varies from state to state depending on the state's individual laws. For example, in the state of Arizona NDs have a very wide scope of practice and can administer antibiotics, pain killers and controlled substances. This generally is not the case in other states. For specific and extensive professional information, please visit the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians' website.
In licensed states, ND's are able to perform lab work diagnosis, incorporate soft tissue and trigger point therapy, perform X-rays and a host of other tests. ND's are able to take out malpractice insurance and can bill some insurance companies.
In states that are unregulated or unlicensed, an ND is considered a Naturopath, not a physician. They can offer nutritional advice, administer herbs and homeopathics. Back to top.
What states or provinces license NDs?
The Southwest Naturopathic Medical Center, on the SCNM campus, provides students with an integrative approach to medicine while encompassing natural philosophies and emphasizing the practical information necessary to establish a successful practice.
The following states/provinces are licensed:
- Alaska www.akanp.com/
- Arizona www.aznma.com/
- California www.calnd.org/
- Connecticut www.cnpaonline.org/
- District of Columbia
- Hawaii www.hawaiiND.org
- Idaho www.idahoanp.org/
- Kansas (785) 749-2255
- Maine www.mand.org/
- Minnesota www.mnanp.org/
- Montana www.mtnd.org/
- New Hampshire www.nhand.org/
- North Dakota
- Oregon www.oanp.org/
- Utah (801) 474-3684
- Vermont www.vanp.org
- Washington www.wanp.org
- United States Territories: Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands
- Manitoba www.mbnd.ca
- Ontario www.oand.org
- Saskatchewan www.sanp.ca
The following states/provinces are actively pursuing licensing legislation: Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Virginia, Texas, Alberta, and Nova Scotia.
For information on your home state and licensing efforts, visit the AANP’s state affiliate page to check out a listing of state associations of Naturopathic physicians.
Do insurance companies cover Naturopathic medicine?
Legislation passed in Connecticut, Washington, and Alaska to allow all ND work to be covered by insurance. There are some insurance groups in Arizona and other states that cover natural therapies. For instance, the Southwest Naturopathic Medical Center has an agreement with CIGNA, a major health care provider. Through this agreement, employees of Maricopa County are covered under CIGNA and have visits to NDs covered by insurance.
Naturopathic medicine is health-oriented and ultimately would save insurance companies many dollars. Naturopathic physicians do need to refer in certain cases where mainstream medicine is better suited, but there are many cases where natural approaches can cure, improve and prevent many of the conditions we see prevalent today. Back to top.