I may pursue training in Chinese medicine after my Ph.D. and
I was wondering how one finds out what schools are strong academically
(besides word of mouth).
Are there any rankings of the accredited schools? I notice
that if you graduate from certain schools such as one in Houston
you are licensed to practice in several states? How exactly does
That's a great question for prospective students!
Education and licensing are separate. The latter depends on the
state. Most states use the national exam to license their acupuncturists,
but a few states (like California) have their own exams.
The California Acupuncture Board lists pass
rates for its exam. When you look at these stats, make sure
not to look just at the pass rates but also how many students
they sent to the exam. Some schools have 100% pass rates, but
only sent one student. I think a better question is, "Which
schools that are educating a lot of students get the best pass
Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
doesn't appear to release those stats about their test, at least
not on their website. You might try calling them at 703-548-9004.
In thinking about the best schools for you, I'd start with where
you plan to practice, or what subjects you want to emphasize-
if herbs are important, think California. The CA test is more
difficult, and herbs are required (most states only require the
national acupuncture license and ignore the national herb license
- some practitioners who are qualified to do herbs do not get
the herb license for that very reason).
Programs are pretty standard, but you can get more details about
each school at the Council
of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
Some questions you may want to ask prospective schools are:
- How much do you teach about Chinese herbal medicine?
- What styles of acupuncture do you teach?
- What are the required classes?
- What electives does financial aid not pay for?
- How do you teach the classics (Do you teach the classics)?
- What clinical and externship opportunities are available?
- Are there OM conferences and events local to the college's
- How long has the college been around?
- What kind of experience and credentials does the faculty have?
- What kind of English language and public speaking abilities
do the faculty have?
- Is the college involved in any scientific research, especially
These should get you a lot more information. You may want to
prioritize the above list - figure out which of these questions
is most important to you.
No school is perfect, and to some extent, your education is up
to you. You'll find that when you graduate, your continuing education
is somewhat legislated, but still essentially dependent on your
own commitment and discipline.
All the best!