Anyone making the decision to become an acupuncturist should first look into it carefully to find out exactly what is involved. Thankfully, I was seeing an acupuncturist at the time for my back pain so she was able to give me some idea of the differences between the styles of acupuncture and what things I should be looking for in a course.
Although I did not choose to study at the same place that she did, talking to her helped to further fuel my passion for acupuncture and enabled me to have a more clear view on what I wanted from the course and what style of acupuncture I wanted to practice.
Many people who are interested to become an acupuncturist also like the idea of treating animals. However, it is important to realise that if you also want to treat animals with acupuncture then you will also need to be a registered veterinarian. For more information on veterinary acupuncture this website is a good place to start.
There are several colleges across the country offering courses, but one stands out by being recommended by so many acupuncturists that I spoke to, and that is ICOM. However, I want to give you an overview of what things you should be considering if you are thinking to become an acupuncturist.
By all means, take a look at ICOM’s course as well. I can certainly say that the practitioners that I spoke to had a great experience to study at this college and graduated with the feeling of being competent practitioners http://orientalmed.ac.uk/acupuncture-courses/
There are more than 10 BAAB accredited courses now offered in the UK, and each one has a slightly different approach. The courses cover anatomy, and how to perform acupuncture, as well as how to set up the practice. By the end of the course, you will be qualified as a professional practitioner.
By registering with a recognised acupuncture college, a course takes three years to train, working full time. There are however flexible; part time courses offered too. It is also worth enquiring about any exemptions that you may be entitled to if you have any prior experience.
A good training course in acupuncture will cover conventional medical sciences as well as Chinese medicine. You will also be able to learn the importance of good communication with your future patients, and procedures to enhance your business building skills.
The early part of the course will be classroom learning with progression to patient treatments under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. This is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the course, where you can interact with patients and gain expert knowledge, with guidance on hand.
Once qualified to practice there are several avenues open to you.
Some go on to set up their own business practice often renting a separate room in a clinic or fitness facility, alternatively, freelance or work for another practice, to begin. There are some opportunities to work within the NHS, as acupuncture is now widely accepted as an effective treatment for numerous ailments.
As a self-employed person, you can usually charge £30 to £60 per hour and can expect to work directly with patients for 20-30 hours a week. As with any business, you will need to put some time into marketing and keeping paperwork so that you can monitor your progress.
Often, when acupuncturists first graduate they may start by offering home visits to the local community. For this, you will also need to factor in various costs, for example, you will need to invest in a portable therapy table as well as a convenient way to carry the rest of your equipment. Equipment costs can vary from place to place. However, a popular choice for acupuncturists is Acu Medic.
Accounting for overheads like rent, equipment and running costs can all be off- set against the future tax on your profits. If you want to learn more about setting up as a self-employed practitioner, the government provide good advice to get you started https://www.gov.uk/browse/business
It is a good idea to join the BAcC even if you are just a student on a BAAB accredited course because the networking opportunities and information that you will get access to will be invaluable in the early stages of your training. This will help you get started, so once you graduate you will be in a position to take on clients straight away and start earning a living from your business.