Shadowing a DoctorJune 5, 2014
Explore A Career As An Acupuncturist – Part Two: Qualifications & Training
Qualifications & Training Requirements
In the UK, there are three professional organisations for acupuncture – The British Acupuncture Council (BAC), The Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ATCM) and The Acupuncture Society. To work as an acupuncturist, it is advisable to obtain your certification from an institute that is recognised by one of these organisations. Each of these organisations requires their members to have achieved certain qualifications and to comply with specified codes of practice.
The British Acupuncture Accreditation Board (BAAB), an independent accreditation body, monitors and fosters high standards of education and practice in this specialty. The BAAB has approved several acupuncture courses in the UK. These courses are only granted accreditation if they meet the stringent standards set by the British Acupuncture Accreditation Board. Graduating from BAAB-accredited acupuncture programmes gives you extra credibility and recognition when you start your practice as it assures patients that you have been approved and recognised as a competent, reliable, knowledgeable and safe practitioner.
From only a few colleges offering acupuncturist qualifications in 1990, there are now fifteen institutions offering acupuncture courses that are either already accredited by the BAAB or are working towards accreditation. You can find the list of course providers as well as entry details and eligibility criteria on the British Acupuncture Accreditation Board and the British Acupuncture Accreditation Board websites.
Most BAAB-approved programmes are three-year full-time degree level courses. To be eligible for one of these courses you will usually need to have obtained at least five GCSEs (A-C), including one science subject and two A-levels. Mature students may be considered on the basis of their work experience.
While the curriculum schedule may differ from one programme to another, all accredited acupuncture courses will include study in the following areas:
– Anatomy and physiology, which covers the structure of your body and how it works
– Diagnostic skills and techniques
– Common diseases
– Key acupuncture points
– Acupuncture techniques and treatment
– Emergency first aid
– Setting up a practice
Throughout your career as an acupuncturist, you are required to keep your skills and knowledge up to date. This is best achieved through membership of one of the professional bodies which gives you access to a programme of continuing professional development (CPD).
Depending on your career goals, you could also choose to take courses in specific advanced acupuncture techniques, advanced theory and other associated complementary practices such as herbal medicine. You could also specialise further and focus on treating specific client groups, such as cancer sufferers or children. A few institutes also offer courses at postgraduate and doctoral level.