You can get a diploma in acupuncture, you can get a simple certificate and you can get a full degree. Ultimately there is nothing to stop you calling yourself an acupuncturist without any qualification at all. So we need to see if a full degree course is a worthwhile option. Lets have a look at whats available from different colleges:
If you attend one of the three year courses at a universtity or a universtity accredited college you will probably get a degree. Alternatively you can obtain a diploma in acupuncture or a certificate at any number of other colleges. Courses vary in length from a few months to three years but before you make a decision there are a few questions its worth asking.
1, Who are the institution to issue the degree or diploma in acupuncture and what gives them that authority?
2, What does it actually mean in terms of recognition by the public, the NHS, in law and/or abroad?
3, What is the cost of a diploma in acupuncture?
4, Will it guarantee quality of training?
5, Will it make any difference to your employment prospects?
If you want a full course with classroom study over 3 years, lots of clinical work and a degree from a recognised institution backed up by a rigorous structure of accreditation and accountability, then you will choose one of the major colleges. It will cost you about £30,000 and approximately 40 days a year for 3 years. Upon graduation you will be able to join the BAcC, one of the organisations for acupuncturists (there are others).
If you want a faster route to learn how to practice acupuncture (without doing research or detailed study of Western medicine, etc) you might be better off on a shorter course like ours. Especially if you already have qualifications or previous experience in a related field. Our course will get you there faster but will need to take responsibility for your own study to a greater extent and learn through practice and CPD.
However, this is the most important bit and frankly what most people wont tell you:
No matter where you train or what qualification you have you are on your own when you qualify. Qualifications do not open doors, they have no recognition in law, there are no jobs advertised for acupuncturists. You must market yourself and build your own practice on your own. Most members of the public are not interested in what association you are a member of or even what qualification you have. They are much more interested in other factors like celebrity endorsement, media exposure and above all personal recommendations.
So before you spend lots of time and money on your acupuncture training do think about your objectives and weigh up the available options. Either you see it as a vocation and wish to study for reasons other than only work, or you hope to earn a living from acupuncture. If the latter is the case do think about who your patients will be, where you will work and how you will build a practice when you qualify.