What to Expect in Acupuncture School

what-to-expect-in-acupuncture-schoolIf you dream of pursuing an exciting and satisfying career in a medical or health field, you might want to consider the field of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and acupuncture. More and more health care consumers are turning to complimentary and alternative medical treatments as part of their health and wellness plans, making it a great time to get into the growing industry.

To practice TCM and acupuncture, you'll need to attend Chinese medicine school to learn the philosophy and methods used by practitioners in the field. What should you expect when embarking on the education needed for this career? Learn the basics of Chinese medicine school, from focus and approach to programs and cost.

Differing focus and methods

Although acupuncture colleges typically teach TCM acupuncture practices, some schools take different and unique approaches, incorporating methods from Japanese, Korean and Western medical acupuncture in their curriculum. Explore the techniques and focus of any school that you might attend and make sure they offer a good fit for your interests.

Presently, more than 55 schools are either accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) or are accreditation candidates. Accreditation by ACAOM ensures a school maintains a standardized education in acupuncture and Oriental medicine. You need a license to practice in the field, and accredited schools also provide the training necessary to obtain licensure in most states.

Requirements for admission 

Admission requirements at accredited schools include 60 semester credits at the baccalaureate level, with specific science courses. Individuals receiving training to become an acupuncture physician complete a graduate level program that lasts from three to four years.

The length of a program may vary by individual institution. The entry-level qualification for practicing is typically a master's degree. The name of the degree you receive may vary. According to the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, some of the titles of degree programs include:

  • Master of Acupuncture
  • Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • Master of Science in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
  • Master of Science in Oriental Medicine
  • Diploma in Acupuncture
  • Master in Traditional Oriental Medicine

Programs of study 
Training at Chinese medicine schools usually consists of a solid foundation in acupuncture, Western sciences, nutrition, Oriental bodywork, clinical practice and herbal medicine. Common course topics include:

  • Beginning to advanced acupuncture
  • Point location and techniques
  • Physical examination
  • Supervised clinical practice
  • Chinese herbal medicine

Additional courses may include business management and marketing, which is especially important for those students who wish to eventually open their own practices. Expect training in the field of TCM to be intense and rigorous — and reward. Most schools require completion of the core curriculum.

The costs 
Annual tuition costs vary among acupuncture schools, typically ranging from $10,000 to $15,000 per year. Additional funds may be required to attend seminars and purchases textbooks. Many acupuncture schools offer Pell Grants, direct loans and other forms of financial aid — consult with the admissions department of any school you're considering to learn more about how to finance your education.

Presently, over 7,000 students are enrolled in accredited programs. The field of acupuncture has become one of the fastest growing health care professions.

For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs you can <a href="mailto:admissions@amcollege.edu?subject=Admissions Inquiry">email our admissions department</a>.


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