Becoming an acupuncturist
So you’re thinking about training to become an acupuncturist. Congratulations! You are at the start of an exciting journey. The has more information about acupuncture and what it involves, so it’s worth checking this out. For information on all the institutions accredited by us click on .
The training itself requires a considerable commitment on your part. This is not only in time and effort, but in a willingness to embrace a very different way of looking at health and disease, and being open and willing to be challenged yourself and to grow through self-reflection. Below are a few points about the courses in general:
Academic Level: Courses that are based on Traditional East Asian Medicine prepare you to work independently as a qualified healthcare professional, are equal in demand and level to the majority of other healthcare professional courses; i.e honours degree level.
Amount of time: If you are studying full time, courses will be no less than three years; part time study will take longer. You may be able to have some credits towards, or exemptions from, parts of the course if you have other relevant qualifications or experience, but this is not necessarily so as many of the courses integrate study of, for example, Western Medicine, with aspects of Chinese Medicine, or with point location.
Attendance: All courses require you to attend university or college for lectures, tutorials, seminars and practical work. You will also have a considerable amount of studying to do at home. You will be assessed at regular intervals, and this may involve examinations. In your final year particularly, you will undertake a significant amount of clinical work. Through working with patients in the teaching clinic you will learn to understand the theory in more depth, to reflect on and develop your practice and gradually become competent and confident in your abilities as an acupuncturist.
Student affiliate status with the BAcC: During your course you may wish to become a student affiliate of the lead professional body – the . This enables you to be involved with the profession from the start of your training, benefit from website information, debate and links, contribute to the development of for students and contribute to the annual conference.
On graduation: Providing the teaching institution at which you were studying has achieved Stage 2 of Full accreditation with the Board (BAAB), you will be eligible to join directly the when you graduate.
Professional Regulation: At the moment, acupuncture is regulated only by voluntary agreement. Within the next three years, it is likely that acupuncture will be regulated in law. That will mean that only those courses and practitioners who meet the required standard will be able to practise as an acupuncturist. The standards currently set out by the BAAB and the more than meet these requirements for practice.
So – still interested? Here are a few questions you may wish to ask yourself in exploring the right course for you.
Courses in acupuncture may or may not be accredited by the BAAB. At the moment, acupuncture is regulated only by the professional associations, not regulated by law. The BAAB works with the lead acupuncture body – and is held in high regard by the Department of Health. A BAAB accredited course will meet certain standards both in terms of its acupuncture content and practice, and in its educational standards. Graduates of and are eligible to join the BAcC directly, rather than go through the individual profiling route to BAcC membership.
Courses are offered by some universities, where, as a student you will be part of a main university faculty, and will be subject to university regulations and fees. Other courses are offered by independent colleges, which are clearly much smaller institutions than universities and where you, possibly with other complementary therapy students, will be the only focus of attention. Fees for these institutions may be lower than current university fees. Some of these courses are approved (validated) by a linked university and therefore lead to a university degree, but all the are degree level.
Different institutions have different options about part or full time commitment, so you need to find out about any course you are thinking of. Some of the courses are also offered at different times of the week – for example, a full time course may be offered in a weekend attendance mode together with occasional full weeks. What you need to consider is the amount of time you have available – a full time course should take up about 40 hours study time each week, irrespective of how many days you actually spend in spend in class or clinic.
There are a number of different approaches to acupuncture and one of these will become apperent to you when you look at an institution’s prospectus. These different approaches are equally valid and are a matter of emphasis on different aspects of Traditional East Asian Medicine. So, whichever course you take, you will be introduced to other approaches, whilst the main focus will be on the specific approach preferred by that course provider.