Trends in Graduate Education: Younger Students Attending National Acupuncture College

By Pacific College - May 15, 2014

Since the start of Oriental medical/ acupuncture education in the United States in the 1970s and until recently, most students entering Oriental medicine school already had established careers in health care and other fields. But there is a new trend in education.

Pacific College of Oriental Medicine has been educating health care providers since 1986. Over the past few years, this Oriental medicine school has started to draw applicants directly after college graduation. Of this year’s entering students, more than half had just completed their undergraduate education. This trend in education is starting to place Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in direct competition with western medical schools.


Ten years ago, the majority of students enrolling at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine already worked in the health care industry and were pursuing acupuncture to augment their skills. They began additional training so their patients and clients would benefit from a more holistic approach to medicine.

Research suggests that enrollment demographics are also changing nationwide in the field of Oriental medicine and acupuncture. In the early years, most of the enrollments were by older, second- career students. However, now the emerging trend in education at Oriental medicine school is for younger enrollees who are seeking training in acupuncture and Oriental medicine as a first- career choice.

NIH Endorsement and Growing Acceptability

Perhaps this trend in education has to do with the increasing visibility and acceptability of alternative therapies. In November 1997, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) convened a panel of 12 distinguished physicians and scientists to review the history, licensing, practice and current status of clinical research on the effectiveness of acupuncture.

The result was the first formal endorsement of acupuncture by the NIH, stating, “There is sufficient evidence of acupuncture’s value to expand its use into conventional medicine and to encourage further studies of its physiology and clinical value.” The panel urged health professionals to consider acupuncture, particularly integrating its use with conventional medicine after a thorough medical workup.


Pacific College of Oriental Medicine President, Jack Miller said that most of the people interested in OM as an initial career seem to have their interest in acupuncture sparked as a result of a health crisis. “Their personal histories usually reflect a health condition that didn’t improve until they tried acupuncture.”

Interest in the field of holistic health care comes at an exciting time. As the field of Oriental medicine continues to grow, so does the need for qualified practitioners. According to an August 2001 complementary medicine study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, of those that tried alternative therapy, 50 percent continued to use it 20 years later.

The study authors write: “These responses imply that alternative therapies are perceived to be a force to be reckoned with for some time to come.”

Alternative medicine has a lasting and loyal client base, but is also attracting new patients. A Boston study found a 47 percent increase in alternative medicine visits between 1990 and 1997, and this number continues to grow. Now, more than four out of ten American adults use some form of alternative medical treatment.

Pacific College’s Leading Role in Oriental Medicine Education

This is promising news for the Oriental medicine community and those who have avoided Oriental medicine school for fear of the stability of the profession.

Pacific College of Oriental Medicine is the perfect place to begin a career in alternative medicine. It offers comprehensive Masters degree programs in Traditional Oriental Medicine and certificates in Asian Body Therapy ( San Diego campus). This Oriental Medicine and acupuncture college was founded in order to provide Oriental medical and body therapy education to students in every age group or career stage from around the world. With over 1,000 students at campuses in San Diego, New York and Chicago, Pacific is the largest Oriental medicine school and acupuncture college in the nation.

Since its inception, the acupuncture college has been at the forefront of educating students and working in conjunction with lawmakers and medical professionals to advance the standards of both the profession and the College’s curriculum. Pacific’s president and governing board members, with the exception of its public members, are all acupuncturists committed to the growth of the profession and the success of Pacific graduates. They bring expertise in curriculum development and teacher training, making Pacific’s Oriental medicine school curriculum and faculty one of the most effective in the profession.

Pacific College of Oriental Medicine is recognized nationally as a leading Oriental medicine school . It has received awards for its curriculum and clinical training, as well as research grants from the National Institutes of Health. Pacific alumni have gone on to be very successful in the field and are currently some of the most popular and sought after teachers and practitioners in the U.S. today.

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