Are you thinking about training to be an acupuncturist? If so, then you need to be aware of a few things if you would like to train and practice in the United Kingdom.
The National Health Service in the UK recognises that acupuncture actually offers several benefits to the public. Today, physiotherapists and doctors often recommend acupuncture for various reasons to their patient. This is good news for anybody looking to start a career in acupuncture as well as for the profession itself.
Qualifications and Training
Currently, there is a lack of statutory regulation for the practice of acupuncture in the United Kingdom. However, an extensive network of self-regulation exists in the industry that sets minimum standards that must be met for acupuncturists to get accreditation from various professional associations.
The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) and the British Acupuncture Accreditation Board (BAAB) are the two main professional associations involved in setting and monitoring these standards. This guide takes the required standards of these two bodies as the measuring stick for what is needed for you to become an acupuncturist in the UK.
Most of the courses approved by the BAAB are a degree-level qualification that lasts three years on a full-time basis. The entry requirements requested by individual institutions usually vary as with any degree course. As you will be working with the general public within an area of healthcare, acupuncture training institutions therefore also judge the applicant on their character and suitability to be an acupuncturist.
For example, colleges such as ICOM will also assess an applicants character, temperament and disposition as well as their academic qualifications before considering them for a place on their course.
However, in general admittance to most acupuncture training institutions that are offering a degree course is usually no less than 5 GCSEs (A – C), including one science subject and 2 A levels. In some instances, universities may consider applications on an individual case basis and only admit students with a particular level of professional expertise and experience. However, for those that wish to enter via the academic route, there is no requirement to have prior experience in healthcare.
Training in Clinical Service
During the course, you will still be required to complete training in a wide range of areas associated with a career in acupuncture including:
– Business skills
– Emergency First Aid
– Acupuncture techniques and treatment
– Acupuncture points, Chinese philosophy, and health
– Common diseases
– Physiology and anatomy
Once you graduate, you will be eligible for voluntary BAcC membership that enhances your professional standing by attesting to the fact that you adhere to the BAcC’s professional code of conduct and standards of excellence. This is a huge benefit to a practitioner as the general public are now often looking for this professional standard from an acupuncturist.
Being a British Acupuncture Council member means that the practitioner can also enjoy a whole host of other benefits, such as referrals for the BAcC for patient enquiries, help and support in your practice, information on the industry and a quarterly magazine with all the latest info and courses on acupuncture.
Acupuncturist salaries can vary since most are self-employed. The level of income can depend on how much the practitioner works, where in the country they are located, their level of experience and so forth. However, here is a sample breakdown of salaries based on experience:
– A new entrant receives about £10,000 annually
– An experienced acupuncturist receives about £18,000 annually
– An acupuncturist working in a large practice can receive up to £30,000 annually
Many acupuncture practitioners begin their career working as a part-time therapist and then build up their practice from there.
If you would like to become an acupuncturist, this information should help you to get on the right track and give you some idea of what is involved. There is much to consider and you also need to bear in mind that you may not earn that much in your first few years while you are establishing your practice so this also needs to be taken into consideration before you commit your time and money to a lengthy course. However, if studying acupuncture is the right thing for you then you will find it one of the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences of your life. Best of luck with your future career path, whatever you decide!