In 2012, AANP completed its annual membership survey which revealed a lot of fascinating information! Here are some fun facts.
Where AANP Members Practice
The vast majority (96%) of AANP members practice solely in the US, with only 3% practicing both in the US and internationally, and just 1% practicing solely internationally. Within the US, there is a heavy concentration of members on the West Coast, with nearly half located in Washington, Oregon, and California. Washington has the highest percentage of NDs with 24%, with Arizona next at 13%. California and Oregon comprise 12% and 11% respectively.
A bold and brave 25% of AANP members work in unlicensed states with the rest practicing in regulated states. This directly impacts income. 59% of NDs that practice in a licensed state earn $60,000 or more a year, while only 47% of those practicing in an unlicensed state earn the same amount. No matter where AANP members practice, one issue stays constant, the vast majority are either satisfied or very satisfied with their career as a naturopathic physician.
No matter where AANP members practice, one issue stays constant, the vast majority are either satisfied or very satisfied with their career as a naturopathic physician...
Employment Setting of NDs
AANP members work in a variety of employment settings: 42% work in a solo practice, 27% work in a group practice, 7% work at a naturopathic medical college, and the remaining 15% work in hospitals, clinics, or other environments. The most profitable employment setting is a hospital, with an average income of about $120,000. The average income for those working in group practices or clinics is around $90,000, the average for a solo practice is around $75,000, and the average income at a naturopathic medical college is around $50,000.
Career satisfaction varies by employment setting. Though all of the employment settings have satisfied or very satisfied career satisfaction averages, naturopathic medical colleges have the highest levels of career satisfaction, with hospitals and clinics coming in second and third.
Primary Work Activity
75% of AANP members work in direct patient care. Another 12% are students, and 3% each work in administration and teaching. The last 7% work in marketing/sales, professional education, and research. Both income and career satisfaction vary with primary work activity. The highest earning work activity is administration, with members in this category earning on average about $140,000 annually. Members in professional education and research each earn around $120,000, and NDs who primarily work in direct patient care on average earn almost $90,000.
33% of AANP members have spent 6-12 years in direct patient care and 25% have spent more than 13 years in practice. 18% have spent 2 years or less, 14% have spent 3-5 years, and 10% are not currently providing direct patient care. The number of years an ND has been in practice providing direct patient care directly impacts his or her income. For NDs that have spent 5 years or less in direct patient care, the average income is $60,000. NDs that have spent 6-12 years in direct patient care earn on average about $100,000, and NDs that have worked 13-20 years earn about $115,000. For NDs that have spent 20 or more years in direct patient care, the average annual income is about $120,000.
The membership survey found that the AANP member majority (74%) works 21 or more hours per week, with 60% spending 21 or more hours per week in direct patient care. Predictably, those that work 21 hours or more earn substantially more than those that work 20 hours or less, earning about $105,000 on average. Those that work 20 hours or less earned an average of $50,000. Those that work more also report being slightly more satisfied with their career than those that work less.
23% of AANP members schedule 1-10 patient appointments in a typical week, 22% schedule 11-20, 18% schedule 21-30, 12% schedule 31-40, and 7% schedule 40 or more per week. Average income correlates with the number of patient appointments scheduled per week, with NDs that schedule 1-20 appointments earning $60,000 on average, those that schedule 21-30 earning an average of $90,000, those scheduling 31-40 earning $120,000 on average, those scheduling 41-50 earning almost $150,000 on average, and those that schedule 51 or more appointments per week earning slightly more than an average of $150,000. All groups reported satisfaction with their careers, though those NDs scheduling 31-50 patients per week reported the highest levels of career satisfaction.
Who Sees AANP’s NDs
Women’s health and aging was the most cited reason for why patients seek an ND, followed by gastroenterological issues, general family care, adrenal fatigue, and endocrinology (other than diabetes).
Half of AANP members treat medically underserved populations, a category that includes minorities, low-income individuals, and seniors. Almost 60% of members say that minorities make up 1-15% of their patients, with 26% saying that minorities make up 16-30% of their patients, and 13% whose practices are made of 31-50+% of minority patients. 90% of NDs treat low-income patients, with 56% reporting that low income patients make up 1-15% of their total patients. 30% of NDs treat low-income patients that make up 16-60+% of their total patients. 98% of our members treat seniors. 27% report that seniors make up 20-30% of their total patients, while 43% report that seniors make up somewhere between 1-15% of their patients. 14% report that seniors make up 31-50+% of their patients.
In order to make their services available to more patients, 38% of our members offer a sliding pay scale to their patients. Of those that offer a sliding scale, 40% say that 1-10% of their patients use it. 24% report that 11-20% of their patients use the offered pay scale, and 21% report that more than 20% of their patients use the scale if offered.
What NDs Do
The most prevalent services that NDs provide are botanical medicine (97%), clinical nutrition (97%), counseling (91%), homeopathy (85%), and allergy testing (71%).
The products that are most widely dispensed or administered by AANP members are vitamins (99%), botanical medicines (97%), nutraceuticals (96%), dietary supplements (95%), minerals (94%), and food (94%).
There are many considerations NDs weigh when purchasing or recommending products. 78% of respondents cited manufacturer’s reputation as a major consideration, 74% cited testing of products, 59% cited cost and 58% cited knowledge of where the ingredients came from.
The AANP membership is evenly divided between those that currently participate in health insurance (39%) and those that do not (40%). Average income was not affected by insurance participation. With the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, 42% of respondents reported that they would increase their participation in insurance, while 39% reported that they would not increase participation.