Updated 4/15/2020

Board Certification Providers: A Reality Check

This is just a ‘warm up’ precursor to our main article on board cert (for short), which you will find at the end of this piece.

Board certification is optional for holistic medicine practitioners and it’s also optional for licensed medical professionals. Technically speaking, this is like comparing apples and oranges.

They aren’t exactly the same kind of ‘board certification’. While both ‘board certifications’ attempt to set certain standards of practice, one has much more oversight.

For example, board certification for medical specialties carries with it heavy continuing education requirements and can really make a difference in the traffic a doctor sees to his office.  

In any case, some licensed medical doctors get ongoing board certification early in their career and taper off after so many years of acquiring it.

Those who let it drop off have usually already established their patient base or are close to retirement. Others are simply exasperated of the time and expense required to maintain board certification, year after year.

And yet others will always maintain it, because it affords them the opportunity to learn about new trends in their medical specialty. 

So while board certification is not technically necessary, or required by either group, in many ways, some people feel it makes them ‘appear’ more professional in the public eye.

You will notice, however, that more herbalists register with the American Herbalist Guild or become members of the American Botanical Society, and more holistic health practitioners, such as traditional naturopaths opt for board certification.

In any case, for those individuals who do seek it, they can get board certification through the ANMCB (American Naturopathic Certification Medical Board), the ANCB (American Naturopathic Certification Board), and the American Association for Drugless Practitioners. Plant workers can become RH, or ‘registered herbalist’ with the AHG (American Herbalist Guild).

Each of these organizations provide some educational resources and/or lobby for natural health rights in some way. So, I guess you can look at it like participating is in some way helping them advocate for holistic health practitioner rights.

The ANCB

The ANCB offers naturopathy, nutrition, and herbal board certification. Their cost is $495, which includes an extensive study guide, practice test, and suggested reading.

Board certification from ANCB is good for one year. Renewal cost is $75 and requires proof of 10 CEU (continuing education units/credits). Rockwell grads get a lifetime of CEUs for free!

The ANCB offers a live, in person, supervised board-certification exam by proctor where someone travels to oversee test administration.

Students are given 2 opportunities to retake any section of the test they fail at no additional cost.

The ANMCB

An ANMCB Board Certification application packet can be found on their website where you can submit an application with all the required documents.

Upon receipt, the Board will review the application and then send an ANMCB Study Guide for the exam.

The study guide provides an overview of the exam. ANMCB applications need to be submitted 30 days prior to the exam date. 

Currently they are offering the option to apply for board certification and become a member of the American Naturopathic Medical Association (ANMA), and entrance into the ANMA Convention. This is offered at $900 which is a discount of $245.

If only board certification is desired, then the cost is $695. 

Upon approval, the board certification is current for one year. To maintain the board certification, there is a renewal fee of $150 and 20 CEU required to be submitted annually.

The ANMCB Exam is given in August each year, during the American Naturopathic Medical Association’s Annual Convention.

The ANMCB Exam can also be given by a Proctoring Service in your local area for those who can not travel to their live exam.

There is an additional $100 cost to have the ANMCB Exam to be given by Proctor. Now that all of that’s out of the way… 

Let me honestly say, the only issue I have with the ANMCB is that they are kind of a monopoly of sorts with Trinity, which I think presents an ethics issue.

For example, Trinity pays for professional accreditation —which you can click and read about there, from the ANMCB. (Just a quick note that this is not approved by the US Department of Education).

Then, just like clockwork, all of Trinity’s students are shuffled over to ANMCB for board certification.

I am almost certain that Trinity is getting some kind of ‘referral’ fee for every student they send to ANMCB as they present their students with no other options (like we do here). 

Now, I am all about small affiliate fees and such, but I feel this monopolizes a students other options, which is why I prefer ANCB because they are not biased and in cahoots with any other agency except themselves —oh, and it’s women ran.

I have nothing against men. I love men, but I like to support women in small business when I have the opportunity —plus it is more affordable!

One other thing I don’t necessarily love about ANMCB is that they kind of ‘pretend’ for lack of a better word to board certify LICENSED naturopaths. Some would flat out say it’s misleading. 

And while, yes, technically speaking, they can say they do that —

The simple fact is, licensed naturopaths have their own agencies that are for actual physicians, true board certification which you can find out more about by clicking that link.

So it’s kind of like a Trojan Horse.

Do you see why they do this? If not, and you feel like a fish out of water, allow me to explain. –—

If they say they offer board certification to licensed naturopaths, then of course, a traditional naturopath will want to follow suit and get board certified there, as well —but it is fairly misleading, deliberate or not.

Bottom line? I will always take ANMCB with a grain of salt.  

The AADP

The lowest bar of entry is probably the AADP, which offers board certification for $285.00 and an annual renewal fee of $150. There is NO test! You can apply on their homepage at www.aadp.net.

More On Board Certification

Who knew there could be more? Well there is. If interested, you should click here to read a more technical and detailed article on board certification. 

Please visit the individual websites for more information on each board certification provider.

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