Medical doctors (M.D.s) and osteopathic physicians can obtain a doctorate in homeotherapeutics (DHt) from the American Board of Homeotherapeutics.
Naturopathic physicians (N.D.s) can obtain doctoral certification (DHANP)in homeopathy through the Homeopathic Academy of Naturopathic Physicians.
Recently, the Council of Homeopathic Certification was formed to provide certification to any individual, otherwise licensed or not. Despite the laxness of this qualification, the test for certification is considered one of the most challenging given by any certifying agency. The certification (CCH, Certificate in Classical Homeopathy) does not guarantee the legal right to practice homeopathy, though it does convey to the public that the holder is knowledgeable in homeopathy.
Another certifying agency is the National Board of Homeopathic Examiners. Originally started by and for chiropractic physicians, this board now certifies any graduate of an accredited homeopathic training program. It offers different certificates depending upon the practitioner's previous degree: a DNBHE, a diplomate with the board, is awarded as a first level certification for medical doctors, osteopaths, dentists, and chiropractors; a SrDNBHE, or senior diplomate, is awarded as a second-level status; a RNBHE, a registrant with the board, is awarded for nonphysician health professionals such as nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and acupuncturists; a CPHT, a certified practitioner of homeotherapeutics, is awarded to laypeople.
There are other certifying organizations in the U.S., though as yet they have not established the same high standards as those listed above.
Because certification is not presently required to engage in homeopathic practice, many homeopaths have not sought to be certified. There are, however, some general guidelines which can help a consumer determine if a homeopath is good. You are more likely to know that the practitioner is a good homeopath if he or she:
-specializes in homeopathy as the primary therapy;
-prescribes constitutional medicines, not just remedies for acute or recurrent symptoms
(see Chapter 2 for a discussion on constitutional homeopathy--Sorry, not online--see book);
-asks you to describe each symptom that you have in exquisite detail;
-conducts a first interview at least one hour in length;
-devotes a significant part of the interview process to a detailed series of questions about your psychological state;
-uses a computer to help find the correct medicine;
-uses a book called a repertory in your presence (this may not be necessary if he or she has a computer).
It is important first to recognize that these guidelines are based on the premise that "classical homeopathy"--that is, the prescription of only a single medicine at a time--is the preferred method of prescribing homeopathic medicines. Although there are different ways to practice homeopathy that are also effective (for more details, see "What are the Different Ways that Homeopathy is Practiced?" Sorry, not on online--see book), classical homeopathy is generally the preference of the greatest number of homeopaths throughout the world.
Because homeopathy is a deep system of medicine that requires many years of study and practice, a practitioner tends to be better at it when he or she specializes in this system. If a practitioner uses homeopathy, acupuncture, herbs, nutrition, and massage, it may suggest that he has not focused his learning on homeopathy. Please note that there are exceptions to this rule because some practitioners may have seriously studied other disciplines prior to, during, or after their involvement in homeopathy, but unless these practitioners have been serious students of the healing arts for at least ten to twenty years, it is unlikely that they could have effectively mastered these various disciplines at the same time.