If you are intrigued by ancient Chinese medical practices and their proven track record of improved wellness, an exciting career in the blossoming field of acupuncture/alternative Oriental medicine awaits you. In today’s changing health care landscape, acupuncture is still one of the fastest-growing avenues, with many more insurance companies approving claims for this type of alternative therapy. The emphasis on holistic wellness is also attractive; those seeking a career in acupuncture will be required to fulfill a variety of coursework, spanning massage therapy to anatomy & physiology to psychology.
Perhaps you have a desire to help people achieve their optimal wellness, or qi (Chinese for balance, pronounced “chee”), but you wish to explore the natural, homeopathic therapies inherent in Oriental medicine, as opposed to the traditional Western way of healing. Research acupuncture colleges to find the best fit for your area of focus and geographic location. While doing so, be sure that your top choice schools have been accredited by ACAOM (Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine). This is extremely important, as your licensing will depend on how you fare on the certification exam. In order to take the exam (which is available through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, or NCCAOM), your school must receive the stamp of approval from ACAOM.
Finding the Best Acupuncture College to Meet Your Career Goals
According to ExploreHealthCareers.org, most AOM colleges require a bachelor’s or associate’s degree (or 60 semester units from an accredited school) for admission into the specialized acupuncture and Oriental medicine program, as training in acupuncture will result in a master’s level degree. ExploreHealthCareers.org indicates that some schools offer specialized clinical training at the doctoral level, for those interested in taking their acupuncture career to the next level. Again, bear in mind that whatever school or credentialing path you take, accreditation is key to obtaining your acupuncture certification, which you must do in order to become a licensed practitioner. Once you have passed your certification exam, you will be one step closer to becoming a licensed acupuncturist.
Clearly, it all begins with the right acupuncture college. There are many questions to consider as you narrow down your choices from among 50+ currently accredited programs. Ask yourself if smaller class sizes are important to you. Perhaps an emphasis on hands-on training or Chinese herbology is a preference. Consider your preferences as you explore the schools that are ready to train the next generation of acupuncturists. Approximately 8,500 students are currently enrolled in acupuncture colleges today, states ExploreHealthCareers.org; a high number of women and students from a variety of ethnic backgrounds make up this number. Once you have achieved certification and obtained a license to practice acupuncture/Oriental medicine, estimated annual salaries range from $30,000 to $150,000, as per ExploreHealthCareers.org. Start your search today, and get on the fast track for one of the fastest moving careers in health care!