Certification v. Licensure
Since the laws regarding health care vary considerably in the various US states and Canadian provinces, there is no universal statement that can be made about the conditions under which homeopathy can be practiced. Due to the demonstrated safety of homeopathic remedies when properly used, many individuals have been able to practice homeopathy throughout North America. However, the lack of official recognition of homeopathy as a method of health care by all states and provinces may be an issue in some jurisdictions.
The certification offered by the Council is not a license to practice homeopathy. Licenses can only be granted by states or provinces. Also, there currently is considerable discussion as to whether licensing is appropriate or necessary for the practice of homeopathy. However, many in the homeopathic community feel that a certification such as the one offered by the CHC, NASH, HANP, CCHC, and other organizations is important in setting standards and offering, thereby, some guidance to the public.
Certification is a peer-recognition of having attained a reasonable level of competency in homeopathy. Being certified by the CHC offers a level of professional recognition, and helps to establish educational and competency standards within the profession - a necessary early step toward greater legal recognition of homeopathy.
In the dozen or so states that license naturopathic physicians (ND or NMD), homeopathy is included within their scope of practice. Only three states in the U.S. (Connecticut, Arizona, and Nevada) have a state licensing board that licenses medical doctors to practice homeopathy. Arizona also has a provision for Homeopathic Medical Assistants (HMA) who work in conjunction with a licensed homeopathic medical doctor, MD(H). According to the laws of particular states or provinces, some licensed practitioners (MD, DO, DC, LAc, FNP, etc.) may be allowed to use homeopathy in their practice. California, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Rhode Island allow registered practitioners of alternative medicine to practice without being licensed.
The CHC expects that all practitioners it certifies who do not happen to be licensed to practice homeopathy will ensure that their clients have been made aware of the status of homeopathic practice in that state or province. Where appropriate, this might include informing the client that any homeopathic recommendations the practitioner may offer are not intended as the practice of medicine, and that the client may need to also consult a licensed health care professional.
Being licensed to practice homeopathy in another country does not automatically confer similar privileges to practice homeopathy in the United States or Canada unless formal legal requirements - such as further study, passing of examinations, and state licensure - have been fulfilled.
We encourage international applicants to enroll in North American homeopathic training courses and to undertake formal study here for at least a year before submitting an application to take the CHC examination. These courses will help to provide a practical idea of how homeopathy is practiced in North America, and should help individuals prepare to take the CHC exam and successfully complete the certification process.