Becoming an acupuncturist is not hard to attain. There are many alternative medicine schools all over the United States that offer courses and degree programs for acupuncturist. These programs include practical clinical works, class time with courses like therapeutic techniques & equipment, meridian theory, clinical methodologies and strategies, indications and functions, body point location & different kinds of needle manipulation used for acupuncture treatment.
The most common acupuncture degrees that college and universities are currently offering are; Master of Science in Oriental Medicine and Masters for Science in Acupuncture. These courses will take students three years of studying for the Master of Science in Acupuncture and 4 years for the combined Master of Science in Oriental Medicine course. The course of Oriental medicine includes both Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture.
Other universities also offers acupuncture students the chance to have externships in China with other sister universities like the Chengdu University and Shanghai University of TCM. Acupuncture students get the opportunity to learn the different 350 species of Chinese herbs that can be used in their acupuncture profession once they graduate.
Acupuncture courses requires incoming students to have completed at least 2 academic years which comprises of 60 semester credits of education which is an equivalent of the requirements needed for graduate level work or any certification from any recognized branch of the United States Department of Education. Other Universities that offers Acupuncture course, however requires a standard bachelor’s degree before admitting students to enroll in their acupuncture program.
Currently, there are more than 50 accredited Acupuncture colleges in the whole of United States offering certification and programs in Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (AOM) or commonly called as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Both the TCM and AOM include the practice of Chinese Herbal Medicine, Asian bodywork and Acupuncture, with colleges having varying emphasis on each course requirements.
After graduating from an accredited and recognized acupuncture college, one can take a certification test through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) to get board certified acupuncture credentials. This test is considered an important requirement for most states that imposes legal guidelines for practicing Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine with the exception of the State of California which has their own Acupuncture certification board exams.
Most acupuncturists are self-employed and they meet patients through referrals from other alternative medical professionals and doctors. Some work with chiropractors and in many oriental medicine clinics in the United States.
Acupuncturist will soon have a wider market as some health insurance companies are now working to include acupuncture in their covered treatment. These insurance companies will now pay for patient’s acupuncture treatment for body aches, muscle pain, PMS, stress and other common body pain symptoms that acupuncture can cure. As more insurance companies open their businesses to cover alternative medicine, the more career opportunities will arise for practicing acupuncturists and the acupuncture and alternative medicine industry will grow as well.
Becoming an Acupuncturist is no different from other profession; it includes hard work, dedication and the willingness to make a difference to other people.