The human body is a complex machine, and it is bound to malfunction from time to time. It is why Medicine, as a profession, can never go out of fashion. Especially with the lifestyle people lead today, doctors are easily one of the most vital people on the planet.
Many cultures equate doctors to gods, for the one reason that they save people’s lives. People rely on medicinal science for surviving in a world infested with ailments, and for general comfort too.
That is why the process of becoming a functional medicine doctor is long and challenging in the US. It takes years of training and diligent learning to become an agent of social-betterment.
But if a career in Functional Medicine is what you’re looking for, here is a guide that can take you through it.
What is a Functional Medicine Doctor?
Functional Medicine is an alternative healthcare field that relies on a lab-based system of analyzing natural remedies rather than chemical medicines.
Functional Medicine Doctors combine scientific and natural healing methods to provide relief to their patients. They use science to diagnose the problems and nature to cure them.
How to become a Functional Medicine Practitioner?
Functional Medicine is an enhanced medical field. Its practice requires additional training besides essential healthcare degrees. Here is a step by step guide to becoming a Functional Medicine Doctor.
Step 1: Get a degree in Medical Sciences
To apply for functional medicine training, you must have at least a master’s level degree in a healthcare field from a recognized university. However, if you want to practice as a nurse, the minimum requirement is a bachelor’s degree.
Step 2: Become a licensed healthcare professional
You must have a primary license in one of these specialties to be eligible for applying to IFM.
- Medical Doctor
- Nurse Practitioner
- Doctor of Osteopathy
- Doctor of Optometry
- Occupational Therapist
- Doctor of Chiropractic
- Naturopathic Doctor
- Physician Assistant
- Registered Nurse
- Registered Dietitian
Step 3: Apply for certification
Once you have practiced as a licensed healthcare professional, you are eligible to apply to the Institute of Functional Medicine to get your certification. To do this, you must fill the application form on their website.
The form has questions on your personal information, academic history, and experience as a practitioner. You have to pay a fee of $225 to submit the form.
The program will cost you somewhere between $12,000 and $16,000 for the complete certification process.
Step 4: Complete the Course
Once your IFM medicine program application gets approved, you have to take the general course “Applying for Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice.”
After the course, the program divides into six training modules based on different body systems. These six segments are Immune, Hormone, Cardiometabolic, Gastrointestinal, Detox, and Energy.
Step 5: Complete the evaluations
Candidates need to complete two types of evaluations to get their certification in Functional Medicine.
After completing the modules, you have to finish a case report which will be graded according to the IFM criteria. After this, you will have to pass a written exam.
Step 6: Start your practice
Once you have acquired your certification in Functional Medicine, you can start gaining experience by using your new skill to help patients.
You can do this by starting a private practice or getting a paid job as a Functional Medicine Doctor.
If you want to be employed as a doctor, you can start your job search on various online job portals. Several platforms, like simply hired and indeed.com have many listings for Functional Medicine practitioners in multiple fields.
Check them out and apply to the ones that meet your criteria.
How long does it take to become a Functional Medicine Doctor?
It takes professionals somewhere around 2.5 years to complete the Functional Medicine Program. But there is a time constraint of four years.
Candidates must complete all the modules, case studies, and written assessment within seven years of joining the IFM course.
Functional Medicine is used to recognize the root cause of your patient’s problems and eliminate them.
It is a new age field that is slowly evolving as a forerunner of all medicinal fields. If you are passionate about helping people, there is no better way to do it than with natural methods.