Choose the best acupuncture school by looking at your priorities. The “best” acupuncture school is one that gives you the experience and knowledge you need. It also offers programs you can afford and is located in an area you enjoy.
There are many things to consider before choosing the best acupuncture school. If you want to be a professional acupuncturist, look for a school accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM), the national accrediting agency for master’s level acupuncture programs. Many states require students to have master’s level certification in acupuncture or traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) before becoming a licensed acupuncturist. Hobbyists or people wanting to learn TCM but aren’t interested in pursuing a degree or certification don’t have to attend an accredited school.
Consider where the school is located. Acupuncture schools are spread throughout the country and the world. Look for schools in an area you can see yourself living in for many months or years, that is affordable for you and ideally where you'd want to practice. States have different licensing and certification requirements and schools will cater to the rules of whichever state they’re located in.
Money may be the biggest factor when choosing an acupuncture school. Decide what is affordable for you by looking at the total cost of the school. Is housing included? Is financial aid available? Also, look at the faculty and read about their individual backgrounds. Instructors should be highly qualified and accomplished in the acupuncture field.
Different acupuncture schools offer different types of instruction. Read through course requirements and see how much hands-on training is involved. Some schools offer supervised clinical practice and have an on-site professional acupuncture clinic. Also, some schools teach students a well-rounded curriculum including other tenets of TCM, such as aromatherapy, herbalism, tai chi and qi gong, and offer classes in Western medicine and pharmacology. Certain schools offer business and marketing courses, and some schools require students to write a master’s thesis before graduating.
Perhaps the best way to find the right acupuncture school is to read reviews from former students. Look on the Internet for alumni reviews to hear what the school is like from someone who went there. Call the school and ask for information along with a tour of the facilities.