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Canadian Council of Sports Medicine Examiners (CCEMS)

Details on the education and examination requirements for Sports Medicine doctors, or Sports therapists and reasons why Sports Medicine doctors, or Sports therapists can play a vital role in the healthcare system.


Interest in alternative medicine has grown significantly over the last decade, creating a demand for alternative practitioners.

Three elements must be present to ensure that these healthcare professionals do not pose a threat to public health:


1. Practitioners must be educated at medical colleges or universities that have been accredited by an agency recognized by the Alternative Medicine Examiners Council of Canada (AMECC);

2. Practitioners must be examined by a national examining board that sets high standards for eligibility and provides standardized test administration; board examinations must be developed in accordance with national testing standards; and

3. Practitioners must be licensed, required to take continuing education, and subject to peer review.


Several medical colleges and universities in Canada are currently accredited by the Canadian Council of Sports Medicine (ccems). The ccems is the only Sports Medicine accrediting body recognized by the Alternative Medecine Examiners Council of Canada (AMECC).


The education of Sports Medicine doctors (NDs) follows a path similar to that of medical doctors (MDs).Applicants enter Sports Medicine school after receiving a baccalaureate degree (usually pre-med) from a four-year college. Students complete two years of post-graduate basic science coursework then have two to three years of didactic and clinical training, including time spent in supervised patient care.


The Canadian Council of Sports Medicine Examiners (ccems) uses the ccemsx to examine all Sports Medicine physicians who want to be licensed in provinces that license NDs. The Canadian Council of Sports Medicine (ccemsx) are criterion-referenced examinations. Five Part I - Basic Science Examinations cover anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, microbiology, immunology, and pathology. The Part I Examinations are taken after the second year of training. Eleven Part II - Clinical Science Examinations cover diagnosis using physical examination and lab testing, emergency and medical procedures, as well as Sports Medicine treatment modalities (botanical medicine, homeopathy, clinical nutrition, physical medicine, counseling & health psychology). The ccemsx examinations are developed according to all the guidelines set forth in the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing.


After graduation from the accredited naturopathic medical college and passage of Part II - Clinical Science Examinations, candidates apply to one of the jurisdictions that have laws that enable licensed Sports Medicine physicians to serve their communities as providers of primary care medicine in Canada. Licensed NDs are required to obtain continuing education and are subject to peer review.


Sports Medicine can play a vital, cost-effective role in the healthcare system:


1. Sports Medicine physicians are primary care providers who treat patients for a variety of conditions, using therapies that are non-invasive, safe, and effective. More patients are demanding these kinds of treatment options, and the cost of naturopathic care is minimal when compared to the skyrocketing costs of drugs.


2. Because naturopathic Sports Medicine places significant emphasis on prevention (not merely on screening for pre-existing conditions), it can help stem the increasing incidence of chronic disease. For a small expenditure now, significant costs can be prevented later.


3. Naturopathic Sports Medicine provides vital adjunctive care when a patient is being treated by a medical doctor for a serious condition.


4. NDs can meet the growing shortage of healthcare providers in rural areas. Efforts are under way to allow naturopathic Sports Medicine doctors to be granted the same kinds of loan repayment options to encourage participation in rural, veterans, and Indian health programs that are available for MDs, DOs, DCs, and other eligible providers.


5. A patient who is rushed through appointments and feels that her/his doctor does not listen is more likely to file a lawsuit in the case of a mistake than is a patient who feels a respectful partnership with her/his physician.NDs spend a great deal of time listening to their patients, attending to their emotional, mental, and spiritual needs as well as to their physical symptoms. Cases of malpractice are extremely rare in the Naturopathic Sports Medicine profession.



Alternative Medicine Examiners Council of Canada (AMECC)

Naturopathic Medicine Council of Canada (NMCC)

Conseil des Examinateurs en Naturopathie du Québec (CENQ)

College de Naturopathie du Québec Montreal (CNQM)

Le Syndicat Professionnel des Naturopathes du Québec (SPNQ)

Le Syndicat Professionnel des Thérapeutes en Médecine Sportif du Québec (SPTMSQ)

Le Syndicat Professionnel des Thérapeutes du Sport du Québec (SPTSQ)



During the first 2 - 3 years of medical school, the education of Naturopathic Sports Medicine doctors (NDs) follows a path similar to that of medical doctors (MDs). Students in both allopathic and naturopathic medical colleges receive extensive training in the biomedical sciences, and in physical, clinical, and lab diagnosis. Both receive training in emergency procedures, public health, and principles of pharmacology. The naturopathic colleges use standard medical texts for this phase of the training. The paths of naturopathic medical education and allopathic medical education diverge after this point.MDs learn how to prescribe drugs and perform or refer for surgery.NDs learn how to use herbs, clinical nutrition, physical medicine (e.g., hydrotherapy, soft tissue massage, osseous manipulation, etc.), homeopathy, and mind-body medicine.


Four keys differences distinguish the naturopathic approach from the approach used by allopathic doctors (MDs):

-Emphasis on prevention

-Search for and treatment of the cause of illness (as compared to an approach that treats the symptoms of the illness)

-Individualized treatment (e.g. two patients being treated for the same pathology may have completely different treatment protocols)

-A goal of removing obstacles to the bodys own innate healing processes (as compared to the idea that cure must come from external sources)



Naturopathic License Requirements


Naturopathic Doctor: Initial License Requirements


- Submit a naturopathic license application & pay the required license fee;

- Possess a good moral and professional reputation;

- Be physically and mentally fit to practice naturopathic medicine;

- Graduate from a naturopathic medical college that is accredited by the Council or another such accrediting agency recognized by the federal government; or graduate from a foreign country naturopathic medical college that possesses equivalent qualifications; and

- Successfully complete the Canadian Council of Naturopathic Examiners (ccems) examinations.


The Naturopathic Medicine Council of Canada (NMCC)'s mission is to ensure the high quality of naturopathic medical education in Canada through the voluntary accreditation of four-year, graduate-level programs in naturopathic medicine. Students and graduates of programs accredited or pre-accredited (candidacy) by NMCC are eligible to apply for the naturopathic licensing examinations administered by the Canadian Council of Naturopathic Examiners (ccems).


Founded in 1991, ccems is accepted as the programmatic accrediting agency for Naturopathic Sports Medicine education by the naturopathic colleges and programs in Canada, by the Canadian national naturopathic professional syndicates, and by NMCC. ccems advocates for high standards in Naturopathic Sports Medicine education, and its grant of accreditation to a college or program indicates prospective students and the public may have confidence in the college or program. The ccems is the national accrediting agency for programs leading to the Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (N.D. or N.M.D.) or Doctor of Naturopathy (N.D.) degree.which then can lead to a Naturopathic Sports Medicine Doctor.


An accreditation handbook, containing ccems standards, policies, procedures, and governing documents, is available for $20, prepaid. A free PDF version is available by e-mail upon request. The PDF file may be opened and printed with Adobe Acrobat Reader, a free download.


CCEMS also certifies postdoctoral programs in naturopathic medicine. Among these programs are naturopathic residencies that provide licensed naturopathic physicians with postgraduate training in naturopathic family care and other specialties. A manual containing ccems's standards for residency programs may be ordered for $15, prepaid. A free PDF version is available by e-mail.


CCEMS is a member of the Alternative Medicine Examiners Council of Canada (AMECC) and abides by the CPMDQ Code of Good Practice.


The accredited and candidate naturopathic medicine programs, as well as the certified residency programs, are listed on the links page. After accessing the links page, click the name of the program or its logo to go to the Website for the college or university that offers the program.


For frequently asked questions, click "FAQs" on the menu.