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What to Expect from an Education in Chinese Medicine

by Jenna Galley
(Guide To Healthcare Schools)

Jenna Galley is a resident of Seattle, Washington. In her spare time she writes for Guide To Online Schools and Guide To Healthcare Schools.

What to Expect from an Education in Chinese Medicine

The art of Chinese medicine is all about finding a balance. The education system for alternative medicine works in the same way, offering a harmonious combination of traditional medical knowledge with the ancient theories embedded in the art of Chinese medicine.

Students will learn the fundamental theories in human anatomy, general biology, physics, chemistry and psychology as well as the traditional approaches to Qigong, Tui Na, Tai Ji Quan, Shiatsu, acupuncture, Chinese herbal therapy, tongue and pulse diagnosis, yin and yang, needle techniques and the five elements. With clinical training every week, students can expect a hands-on approach in the education of Chinese medicine.

Courses and Degree Programs Offered

Oriental medicine is offered at a variety of different educational levels depending on your personal goals and career objectives. There are certificates available in Ancient Body Therapy including tui na and shiatsu. There are schools that offer day courses in T�ai Chi Ch�uan, Qi, acupuncture and Chinese herbs, which are great for the general public wanting to learn more about holistic medicine.

A master's or doctorate in Chinese medicine, acupuncture, or oriental medicine can lead to a career as an acupuncturist or a doctor of oriental medicine. Most courses consist of extensive theory and coursework in Chinese medicine, herbal medicine, biomedical sciences, acupuncture theory and technique, clinical training, and general science and foundation courses. A degree program will generally take between 3 and 5 years to complete depending on the school attended and the course load taken.

What to Look For in Alternative Medical Schools

When searching for an alternative medical school there are three key things you must look for. First, what levels of courses are available. While some schools will offer master�s degrees and doctorate degrees, others will only offer certain diplomas and certificates. It�s important to understand the difference in program study when looking for your best choice.

Secondly, you need to look at the school�s structure. Things to look for in the school structure include the facility location and services, course load, grants and scholarships offered, tuition fees, faculty bios, course sizes and additional student services.

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, make sure you choose a school that is accredited. Currently the major accrediting commission for Chinese medicine is the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM). Founded by the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM), the ACAOM ensures that your school of choice is up to the stringent educational standards set forth by the Department of Education. There are currently over 60 accredited schools and colleges with the ACAOM. This accredited stamp of approval is essential when choosing an alternative medical school.

It can also be a good idea to check the websites of various organizations and associations of Chinese medicine when searching for the right school. The American Association of Oriental Medicine (AAOM) and the National Acupuncture Foundation are both good places to start your search.

Moving Above and Beyond - Where Alternative Medical Training Can Take You

Although anyone can obtain an education in Chinese Medicine, many registered massage therapists, nutritionists and other homeopathic medical practitioners will choose to update their skills and stylistic approach to herbal healing with a course in some of the above mentioned programs.

With a post graduate degree in oriental medicine, graduates will need to complete a state licensing exam before becoming a certified acupuncturist or oriental medical practitioner. All states have different regulations when it comes to licensing but most comply with the standards and exam package established by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Many acupuncturists and oriental medical practitioners are self-employed and thus it can be hard to give an accurate estimate in regards to salary expectations. However, aspiring acupuncturists can expect anywhere from $40,000 to $150,000 per year.

The Bureau of Labour Statistics reports that oriental medicine is an excellent educational choice for anyone looking into the field of holistic medicine. More and more people are now looking to Chinese medicine as an alternative to expensive treatment and harmful drugs and as a way to find a more harmonious balance in life.

For more information on holistic health programs and careers visit Guide To Health Care Schools.

Betty's Reply: Study Chinese medicine does indeed lead to an appreciation for the integrity of the human body, mind, and spirit. And you cannot imagine how rewarding this profession is.

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