So, you think you want to go to acupuncture school. You're excited about the ever-growing opportunities in the field of holistic health and want a career that helps others and offers you flexibility in your schedule and satisfaction in your work. But before diving into a new degree program, you'll want to know what you can expect from acupuncture school.
A specific philosophy or approach
Just like a traditional college or university, acupuncture school can have a unique area of focus or philosophy that guides the program, according to the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM). Some possible approaches include: Chinese, Japanese, Five Element, Korean, and Vietnamese traditions. Compare the focus of degree programs that interest you and make sure the ones you apply to have full accreditation status with the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, which is the only organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education that accredits acupuncture and Oriental medicine school. You should also make sure the program is approved by the licensing board of the state where you plan to practice.
Acupuncture schools may require you have anywhere from two years of baccalaureate education or a medical certification up to a Bachelor's Degree, which exceeds the CCAOM's minimum standards. Check with the admissions department of schools that interest you to understand the requirements before you apply. Students of acupuncture can qualify for federal financial aid and scholarship opportunities exist, so get in touch with any prospective school's financial aid office to find out how to best finance your degree.
Types of degree programs
Most students pursue the entry-level requirement of obtaining a Master's Degree in acupuncture school, the needed qualification to practice. Institutions might have different names from their degrees, including Master of Oriental Medicine, Master of Acupuncture, Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine and so on. Programs usually take three to four years to complete, depending on whether your focus is acupuncture or Oriental medicine. Some schools offer opportunities to go on to pursue a doctorate in the field.
You might not have to wait until fall to start a degree program — many colleges have programs that begin several times throughout the year, so inquire with admissions departments of prospective colleges as to when they accept new students. If you need to fit school into other demands, like a job or family life, some programs offer night classes. Again, like traditional colleges and universities, each acupuncture school will have a unique culture and vibe, so make campus visits and sit in on classes, if possible. Talk to teachers and students and see if you can imagine yourself fitting into the program.
More than 50 schools in the U.S. offer programs in acupuncture, so finding the right one for you can be daunting. In addition to finding an academic program that's comprehensive and speaks to your interests, seek out a school that comes with assistance in securing financial aid you need to fund your education and help with passing your licensing exams upon completing your degree. During your research phase, ask what percentage of their graduates pass their licensing exams — this is a great indicator of the quality of the program. Find out whether the school offers professional networking opportunities and help with job placement when you graduate.
Learn more about what to expect from acupuncture school and beyond by downloading our free ebook. Also contact the Acupuncture & Massage College's Admissions Department at (305) 595-9500 for more specific information about our Oriental medicine program.