To Become or Not to Become, An Acupuncturist?

To Become or Not to Become, An Acupuncturist?
DATE | EAST WEST COLLEGE On April 25, 2017
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Acupuncture is proclaimed to be the newest “oldest” profession rapidly growing in the United States.  Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AOM) has been in use for thousands of years around the world because it has withstood the test of time proving to safely relieve many common health complaints.  However, acupuncture is on a significant rise in the US.  According to various research studies, in the US alone, there are over 3 million people currently seeking acupuncture (AOM) treatment per year.  Since the late 90’s to late 2000’s, there has been almost a 50% increase in patients seeking acupuncture.  With the demands increasing, statistics anticipate a 17% higher growth rate for employment opportunities.  Currently, the average annual salary in the US is reportedly $74,000.  **Referenced cites listed below**  
So What Exactly is Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AOM)?
AOM is an ancient and empirical system of medicine dating back over 2500 years based on the concept of qi, which translates to energy.  Furthermore, it is based on the premise that there are more than 2,000 acupuncture points in the human body, which are connected by bioenergetics pathways known as meridians.  According to AOM, it is through these pathways that (Qi) or energy flows.  However, when the pathway is blocked it causes a disruption leading to bodily imbalances or chronic disease.  AOM is not only believed, but proven to impact numerous chronic health conditions by stimulating the central nervous system helping to release natural chemicals that alter bodily systems, pain, and other biological processes.
If AOM is chosen as a profession, what type and length of education is required?
It is important for all perspective students to be aware of the minimum requirements to be accepted into an accredited AOM school.  Typically, these requirements include satisfactory completion of at least two (2) academic years or 60 semester credits of education from an institution accredited by an agency recognized by the US Department of Education.  It is not necessary to major in biology or hardcore sciences and it is recommended to speak with an admissions advisor to review any prerequisites that may be required.  Upon prerequisite completion, application to the AOM college of choice is necessary in order to complete either the Master’s degree program in acupuncture (3 years) or in Oriental medicine (4 years).  Currently, there are approximately 50 accredited and pre-accredited colleges nationwide offering graduate training in AOM.  East West College of Natural Medicine is the only college located on Florida’s west coast offering a Master’s degree in both Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.  
What are the estimated expenses?
Between the total costs of tuition, fees, books and living expenses, the average three year stay averages between $75,000 to $85,000. However, financial assistance may be available, speak with a financial advisor at an AOM school of interest for financial aid details.
Post graduation, can immediate practicing begin?
No.  Following graduation, board certification examination by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) is required with the exception of the state of California, which has it’s own state board certification exam and requirements to practice.  After successful completion of the board examination, the graduate applies for state licensing.
Typically, when most people consider a career in health care, they immediately think of becoming a doctor or a nurse.  However, the tides of conventional medicine are changing as there is a greater demand for holistic medicine.  AOM is virtually free of the side effects that accompany many modern medical procedures.  It is relatively inexpensive treatment in which major health insurance plans are allowing for more coverage.  By investing in an AOM education and successful completion of both the program and state board, AOM practitioners can create financially sound careers with flexible schedules.  Becoming an AOM practitioner provides opportunities to work in various multi-disciplinary settings and world travel.  It is no secret that the road to becoming a practitioner is rigorous and challenging.  It is through this transformational journey that a student will discover their full potential by growth in stages from a student to a healer to a professional practitioner.  
“Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”
~Theodore Roosevelt
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