Are you considering going to acupuncture school?
In recent years, holistic practices such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have grown in popularity. In fact, many of the leading university hospital systems in the US now employ full-time acupuncturists. For example, Duke University’s Integrative Medicine Center offers acupuncture, acupressure massage, mindfulness meditation, and other holistic treatments in coordination with other conventional medical treatments.
As Oriental Medicine continues to grow and find a place alongside conventional medicine, more and more people are starting to realize the many benefits that acupuncture and other TCM modalities offer. As such, now is a great time to consider starting a new career in Oriental Medicine and acupuncture.
But before you do so, you'll need to consider if you should study acupuncture and decide if acupuncture school is right for you.
Why should you study Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine? | Acupuncture School Blog | Miami, Florida
People choose to study Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture for many different reasons. For example, many current TCM practitioners first underwent acupuncture treatments as patients and realized how important it was for people to have access to safe, effective, holistic medicinal practices.
Others simply realize that they have a vocational call for healing and decided that now is the right time to begin that particular career change in their life.
Whatever your reasons for wanting to study Oriental Medicine, you are about to embark on an amazing journey...
What Traits Should an Oriental Medicine/Acupuncture Student Have?
Oriental Medicine is a subject steeped in history and tradition, and there is something new and fascinating to learn every day. However, studying Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture can be challenging at times with so much to take in and understand.
It is not necessary to have any prior medical knowledge as this will be taught as part of the course. What is more important is that students are fully dedicated to studying this complex system of medicine. You also need to be aware that even after graduation, there is always more to learn. New research is constantly deepening our understanding of how Acupuncture works, and the ability to think critically and creatively is a key trait for all students of Oriental Medicine.
Good people skills are also crucial as you will be coming into contact with patients on a daily basis. Empathy, compassion and acceptance are all qualities which make for great future acupuncturists. There is no room for prejudice in the Acupuncture clinic, and in this field, being able to truly listen to a patient's needs is almost as important as clinical knowledge itself.
Diagnostic skills in Oriental Medicine stretch far beyond the piecing together of symptoms. Good observational and palpation skills are helpful, but these can only really be developed with experience and time spent in the clinic. Other skills such as point location, needling and prescribing herbs will all be taught in detailed practical sessions. So by the time you graduate, you will have all the tools you need to set up in practice.
The final, and possibly most important, trait that Oriental Medicine students should have is patience. Things will not always go to plan, and being able to accept this and stay motivated will help you to stay positive, calm and committed throughout your studies.
Why Study Oriental Medicine/Acupuncture?
Oriental Medicine is a rich and diverse subject encompassing Acupuncture, bodywork and Chinese herbology. With over 2000 years of history, there is always more to learn, even after spending many years in practice.
As well as learning about traditional concepts such as Yin/Yang theory, Qi and the Five Elements, you will study anatomy and physiology, general biology and medical terminology. This will allow you to talk effectively with other healthcare professionals as well as patients, preparing you for a successful career in historic Oriental medicine, adapted to suit the modern world.
In addition to improving your clinical knowledge and skills, you will also learn to understand how your own body functions. You will discover the best ways to take care of yourself by making dietary and lifestyle adjustments according to classical Chinese medicine theories.
As well as improving your own health, as an acupuncturist you will also be helping others. People who come for acupuncture treatment often have complex medical needs which are difficult to treat using western medicine alone.
Because of the holistic way in which Oriental Medicine views the human body, Acupuncture is sometimes able to help where other treatments have failed. By relieving long-standing symptoms such as chronic pain, acupuncturists are able to provide respite and significantly improve quality of life for these patients.
This makes a career as an acupuncturist a truly satisfying choice, where every day is sure to bring a new challenge and a new reward.
Career Opportunities After Graduation
After graduation, you will be ready to sit your exam with the National Commission for Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). On passing this, you will be granted your Acupuncture License (L.Ac) and can seek employment as an Acupuncture Physician.
Many acupuncturists become self-employed after graduation. This offers a high degree of flexibility, allowing you to set your own working hours and days off. This makes it a great career choice for those trying to balance making a living with raising a family. Although it can take a while to build up a steady client base, once your business is established it is possible to earn a good salary as a self-employed acupuncturist.
There are also plenty of different options when choosing where you want to work. Alternative health centers, Oriental Medicine centers and chiropractor's offices are just a few examples. Some acupuncturists choose to specialize in a particular condition after graduation, and may work in places like cancer centers, rehabilitation facilities or fertility clinics.
If you would prefer not to specialize and decide to become a “general practitioner” of Oriental Medicine, there are also many different options. As well as having a fixed base, many acupuncturists will travel to treat patients in their own homes, providing a valuable service for those with limited mobility.
If you want to work with other acupuncturists, you could consider working at a community “multi-bed” practice. These centers offer low cost Acupuncture treatments to patients in a large room with multiple beds, allowing more people to benefit from Acupuncture by making it more affordable.
Some acupuncturists even choose to travel while they work by finding employment on cruise ships or in spas across Miami.
Although it can sometimes be hard work, becoming an acupuncturist is both an exciting and rewarding career choice. It offers you the ability to cultivate your own skills and knowledge, work in a way that fits in with your lifestyle and to help other people in the process.
If you're interested in becoming an Acupuncturist, download our free career-guide below. Acupuncture and Massage College is located in Miami, FL.