To begin with, if you’re a prospective student you’ll want to learn how and where you can earn a certificate or degree in acupuncture, where the best acupuncture schools are and what it’s like to work in the field of acupuncture. Besides licensing you may also want to be certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. With this certification you can use the title Diplomate of Acupuncture. The professional abbreviation is Dipl.Ac. An acupuncture practice can be a career you can enjoy for a lifetime.
Acupuncture schools that offer courses in traditional Chinese medicine often include other segments of traditional medicine, such as anatomy, body therapy, massage therapy, and various sciences. It’s important to get a total picture of all the treatments offered by the acupuncture schools so you acquire the necessary skills to be well-rounded and well-versed for your patients. First of all you’ll want to find out what school and program options are in your area.
For naturopathy schools that offer acupuncture programs see the established List of Accredited Natural Medicine Colleges in North America. States such as California have quite a few acupuncture schools to choose from, while Wisconsin has only one school and some states have none at all. The ACAOM (Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine) is the national accrediting agency and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit Master’s-level programs in the acupuncture and Oriental medicine professions, so make sure the school you’re considering has this accreditation.
Acupuncture schools usually offer the science and philosophy of acupuncture too. You can call each school you’re considering and ask to speak to a recruiting counselor to find out what is the student-to-teacher ratio is. Try to get smaller classes. Check to see if your home state is on the national list of about 50 acupuncture schools that have accredited programs.
Acupuncture programs in acupuncture schools are expensive and usually require three years or so of course work. Some of the programs can be up to five years. One good textbook to review in advance of your decision is: “The Foundations of Chinese Medicine” a comprehensive text for acupuncturists and herbalists by Maciocia. In order to qualify for federal assistance be sure to enroll in a school that’s accredited by the ACAOM.
And if you’re visiting an acupuncture clinic as a patient to learn more about acupuncture, make sure to ask about any drawbacks that might go along with an acupuncture career. Acupuncture is particularly effective at relieving or treating chronic muscle pain, stress, and PMS just to name a few symptoms. Before you commit to learning about any alternative medical technique, be aware that some of them may not have been scientifically evaluated.
Before you commit to any acupuncture school or to any acupuncture training you might want to purchase “Fundamentals of Chinese Acupuncture” by Ellis, Wiseman, and Bosson. This text book is used in many acupuncture schools and acupuncture programs and will give you an idea if you want to pursue a career in acupuncture. Note that each state and each discipline has its own strict rules about how alternative medicine practitioners are to be professionally licensed.
The economic burden can be lessened with financial aid in a variety of forms. If you need financial aid try contacting some of your local philanthropic organizations and health organizations to see if they know of any scholarships that are still available. Sometimes these organizations have some scholarship money that was unused and will accept an application for it. Talk to the financial aid officers at the school you have in mind and see what suggestions they have for grants, scholarships and federal aid.
There is always federal money available for education. There is money set aside for online degree programs also. Check and see if your school has any of its classes available online and if so then apply for these funds. There are also education loans and student loans available if you’re unable to get any full or partial scholarships or grants.
Our advanced medicine has proven the effectiveness of many treatments that have been practiced in other countries for centuries and as a result, more and more insurance companies are covering alternative treatments such as acupuncture. Make sure to learn about your state’s licensing requirements for acupuncturists before you do anything. After graduation from an acupuncture school or program and as a licensed acupuncturist you could choose to have a cosmetic acupuncture or facial acupuncture practice or even run a veterinary acupuncture clinic.