Ayurvedic Doctor Education in the U.S.

In 2016, The California College of Ayurveda became the first school in the United States to train Ayurvedic Doctors.

This training program was approved at the time by the Bureau of Private Post-Secondary Education, a California State institution. In 2022, the BPPE determined that it would no longer approve or re-approve programs training Ayurvedic Doctors. During this period, the College graduated approximately 50 Ayurvedic Doctors.

Following the State Approval of California College of Ayurveda’s Doctor program, other schools in the State began to offer State Approved Doctor programs. In 2022, all schools were notified that their programs would not be re-approved.

The National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA)

NAMA, the largest National Association of Medical Practitioners created a membership designation for Ayurvedic Doctors in 2017. While NAMA does not educate nor certify Ayurvedic Doctors, they created academic educational standards and national board examinations to serve as membership exams into their organization at various levels, including the Ayurvedic Doctor. Membership however does not expand or protect the right to practice. Those with a NAMA Ayurveda Doctor membership designation can not use the title in clinical practice.

Today, as of the writing of this article, there are no State recognized educational programs leading to an Ayurvedic Doctor (Clinical degree or certificate) in the United States.

This is different than a Ph.D. in Ayurveda, which is an academic (intellectual) degree that can be offered by institutions of higher knowledge. Several Colleges and Universities are presently pursuing accredited Ph.D. type academic programs. However, these degrees should not be mistaken as clinical degrees /certificates nor do they expand or protect the right to practice Ayurveda.

It is hoped that in the near future, the Ayurvedic community can come together to develop a unified plan leading toward a Clinical Ayurvedic Degree/ Certificate and subsequent State Licensing for practitioners.

The landscape of Ayurvedic education and practice in the United States has seen significant shifts over the years.

The California College of Ayurveda took the lead and became the the first institution to offer training for Ayurvedic Doctors, garnering state approval for its programs. However, changes in regulatory oversight led to the discontinuation of approval for such Ayurvedic Doctor programs across the state. The California College of Ayurveda continues to offer the same education, but graduates now use the title: Medical Ayurvedic Specialist.

The Highest Level of Education Available In The United States

The highest level of education available in the United States today is the Medical Ayurvedic Specialist. This program of study is the same as the Ayurvedic Doctor program at the California College of Ayurveda. Students who graduate as Medical Ayurvedic Specialists have  the deepest understanding of Ayurveda and the ability to integrate into Western medical settings. Their training includes complex Western subjects like laboratory diagnosis and specialties such as pediatrics and geriatrics with an emphasis on research and research methodology. These subjects are approached from an Ayurvedic perspective and students receive a broad understanding of the Western approach knowledge as well. An additional clinical internship prepares students to see the most complex cases.

If you’re passionate about Ayurveda and aspire to become a practitioner, consider exploring our Seminars, Workshops and Programs offered at the California College of Ayurveda. By investing in your education and training, you can fulfill your desire to help your community and you can contribute to the advancement and legitimization of Ayurvedic practice in the United States. Take the first step towards realizing your goals by enrolling in our programs today.