Naturopathic and Holistic Medicine School Rankings
In the US, a whole industry has arisen focused on the ranking of universities and colleges, with the majority of these rankings focused on bachelor's and master's degree programs at universities and 4-year colleges, or the institution as a whole. Naturopathic and holistic medicine is not usually part of the mainstream institutions that get ranked by, for instance, US News &World Report, The Princeton Review, The Washington Monthly or the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU). This doesn't mean there are no rankings to consult for these programs, though! A number of naturopathic and holistic medicine programs are found at the community, technical and career college levels. Two main sources of general community college rankings (designed to identify the "best" schools and programs according to quality and value) are The Washington Monthly and Career College Week, and schools and programs may also ranked by industry-specific publications, so do a library search. There are also less "official" rankings in popular sources like the book Massage for Dummies or websites offering student surveys (such as TCM Student).Professional associations, such as the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) may also offer awards and honors for teaching excellence, and looking at who they have honored can also be used to supplement your 'ranking' of schools.
Each of these sources, however, has its own particular set of criteria for evaluating schools and programs. In the case of the controversial Gourman Report (which ranks both undergraduate university and professional programs), the author specifically refuses to disclose his methodology. How then should all this information be interpreted?
First, ranking reports from any source usually come with detailed data or explanation of the methodology used in order to support conclusions. So while data collection can be subjective (in the case of student surveys in particular), the compilers of these reports make some effort to ensure that statistics are comparable. Therefore the reports can be used by you to compare institutions and schools on the basis of the data provided.
Second, the statistics that come from the rankings can also suggest topics that need to be studied in more detail. For instance, these programs often offer co-ops or industry internships, but if the graduation rate and employment of grads are low, you may want to ask why.
All university and college rankings have one other thing in common: they are a list of institutions and schools. Scanning the list might suggest a naturopathic and holistic medicine school (or even program area) that you had not considered or perhaps even heard of. Used this way, the rankings can help expand your list of schools that can then be researched in more detail.
However, you should never judge a school or program based on rankings alone. Rankings are important, but there are other factors that need to be taken into consideration. Schools that are less prominent may have a program that suits your needs, and lesser known colleges can also be a good choice if you wish to remain close to home during your studies. Often times, these schools have strong relationships with local industries and employers. Once you have accumulated this information, you can create your own ranking of naturopathic and holistic medicine schools.
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