Acupuncture Career Education Program Overviews

Essential Information

There is a wide range of programs, many accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM), that lead to becoming a certified acupuncturist. Throughout the programs, students learn how to use and insert acupuncture needles, diagnose and assess the conditions of patients and perform acupressure massage techniques. Additionally, the curriculum teaches the origins of acupuncture and may also cover dietary therapy and Chinese herbology. Upon graduation, students must take an exam to become officially certified by the National Council of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).

Prerequisites for acupuncture schools vary according to the program but most require a high school diploma or equivalent, a bachelor's degree, applicable science courses, and an interview and/or admission essay. Additionally, many programs require a clinical apprenticeship before completion.

Certificate in Acupuncture

Typical coursework for an acupuncture certification includes about two years of classroom instruction, followed by a clinical apprenticeship in which students will receive training in moxibustion, electrical stimulation, safety practices and needle techniques. Classes may include:

  • History of Chinese medicine
  • Pathology
  • Herbology
  • Healing philosophies
  • Needle practices

Continuing Education

For students who want to further their education and skills, a number of acupuncture schools offer graduate degree programs such as Master of Oriental Medicine or Master in Acupuncture. These programs give graduate students more in-depth training in Chinese medical physiology, acupuncture and acupressure points and techniques, as well as pain management, treating biological imbalances, communicating with patients and medical ethics.

Depending on the desired degree, acupuncture programs accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) vary in length, requirements, and coursework but are all generally similar in overall content. Special coursework is often required for certain specialized degrees.

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