Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is as ancient, and in some ways as mysterious as China itself. Today with a major increase in interest, acceptance, and proven efficacy of so called complementary and alternative medical practices (CAM), TCM is not only far less esoteric, it is becoming a promising career path. Today many health insurance companies provide coverage for not only acupuncture, but for Qi Gong and other modalities of TCM. In many parts of the country Traditional Chinese Medicine is already a well- respected and well-established health profession.
Of course, you do not have to be Chinese to be trained in or start a career in TCM. At respected facilities such as the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, you can study to be a registered acupuncturist, a TCM practitioner, or receive a Doctorate of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
According to the National Center of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, acupuncturists make up one of the most popular CAM practices in the United States. A recent study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), stated that acupuncture is "being widely practiced by thousands of physicians, dentists, acupuncturists, and other practitioners - for relief or prevention of pain and for various other health conditions."
But TCM does not start and end with acupuncture, nd nor does your potential career as a practitioner of TCM. A "full service TCM practice or business will likely offer a variety of modalities, some or all of which you may wish to train for yourself - or work in partnership with other practitioners. These include:
Tuina (Chinese medical massage)
And of course all practitioners of TCM are trained and qualified to give advice on diet, nutrition, stress relief, and other natural and holistic healing methods.
In these economic times one of the only areas to actually experience job growth has been the medical field. A career in TCM can be both spiritually, and indeed, financially rewarding. But it is important that any one considering becoming a student of TCM learn about their particular states licensing requirements - as these do vary, and be sure you study at an accredited school that ensures you will graduate with the appropriate and valid credentials.
According to a recent salary survey available at PayScale.com, $43,000 to $60,000 per year is the average salary of a licensed acupuncturist, depending on the length of time they have been in business. Anecdotally there are those that earn considerably more than that.
Many of those who have become acupuncturists consider themselves blessed to work in such a satisfying profession - and feel the years of required study are well worth it. The study of acupuncture along with all of the ancient healing arts of TCM can be a very transformational process. As a Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac) you will find yourself bringing solace to people suffering from all manner of illness. You will relieve the pain of arthritis and other debilitating diseases, help combat the scourges of drug and alcohol addition, and treat depression and other emotional disorders.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is now a well-established health profession. It is a holistic approach to natural healing with proven methodoligies that has received worldwide recognition - and a tradition that you should feel proud and honored to be a part of and help continue for many more generations to come.