The Decision to Become an Acupuncturist

As CAM therapies gain ground in the West more and more people are developing an interest in studying acupuncture. What you will need is to develop the knowledge and the practice to be able to help your future patients to the very best of your ability. This takes a great deal of dedication, hard work, competence, compassion and a drive to succeed. Let’s take a closer look at some things you need to think about upon making the decision to become an acupuncturist.

If you look up guides for the best colleges across the United States you will not find any information about traditional Chinese medicine but in actuality there are 48 accredited universities that teach a variety of kinds of traditional Chinese medicine. The Internet should provided an excellent guide for the schools you are interested in.

When you are researching different schools always look for ones that are fully accredited or else have what is known as candidacy status. Be aware that schools that have achieved accreditation have gone through a rigorous and extensive process of both peer review as well as self-study and this has all been done by way of the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM). This can be found on the web at www.acaom.org. The schools all need to meet what is set down as national standards. Accreditation of a school helps to guarantee that a student will get the quality of education they are seeking. Almost all of the states across the U.S. make it a requirement for all acupuncture practitioners to get their degree from an accredited program of study in order for them to become licensed. As well schools with accredited status are able to offer prospective students financial aid if they need it, which comes directly from the federal government.

Before you do any amount of searching for acupuncture programs and schools you have to have a clear cut idea of what type of degree you are interested in studying for as there are more than one to choose from. For example an acupuncture degree is very specialized and will allow you to practice acupuncture but no other type of alternative therapy. On the hand an Oriental medicine degree will allow you to gain education and training in both acupuncture as well as herbal medicine but this degree will take you an extra year to earn. Always take the time to research the regulations that are necessary for acupuncture licensing in the state you would be interested in practicing in after you completed your degree. The licensing regulations do vary from state to state. For example some states make it a requirement that their licensed acupuncturists need also have herbal training.

Always find out the philosophy of any given school. Just as Western medicine approaches healing in more than one way, so does traditional Chinese medicine. In the United States there are two distinct approaches to healing in regards to acupuncture and these include the TCM/Eight Elements School and secondly, the Five Element School.