Individuals pursuing a medical or health profession career might like to consider the field of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and acupuncture. Although acupuncture colleges typically teach TCM acupuncture practices, some schools vary in their focus and incorporate methods from Japanese, Korean and Western medical acupuncture. Presently, 50 schools are either accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) or are accreditation candidates. Accreditation by ACAOM ensures schools maintain standardized education in acupuncture and Oriental medicine. Accredited schools also provide the training necessary to obtain licensure in most states. Admission requirements at accredited schools include 60 semester credits at the baccalaureate level, with specific science courses. Individuals receiving training to become an acupuncture physician complete a graduate level program that lasts from three to four years. The length of the program is determined by the training of the individual institution. Training usually consists of a solid foundation in Chinese acupuncture, Western sciences, nutrition, Oriental bodywork, clinical practice, and herbal medicine. Common course topics include: Beginning to advanced acupuncture, point location and techniques, physical examination, supervised clinical practice, and Chinese herbal medicine. Additional courses may include business management and marketing. Training in the field of TCM requires respect with regards to Oriental medicine tradition and is rigorous. Most schools require completion of the core curriculum. Annual tuition costs vary among acupuncture schools, typically ranging from $10,000-$15,000 per year. Often there are additional costs for attended seminars and texts. Many acupuncture schools offer Pell Grants, direct loans and other forms of financial aid. Presently, over 7,000 students are enrolled in accredited programs. The field of acupuncture has become one of the fastest growing health care professions. The median salary for acupuncture physicians is $45,000. For information about acupuncture schools contact Joe Calereso at the Acupuncture and Massage College at 305.595.9500. For information on health and wellness call Dr. Richard Browne at (305) 595-9500.