An article about the experience of acupuncture school grads could read a lot like this article in today’s New York Times’ Business section. Many acupuncture students (and student wannabees) are ignorant (or even worse, misinformed) about the business realities they’ll face upon graduation, and the schools, ACAOM, and the AAAOM have not made changing that a priority. I suppose they have no incentive to give an accurate picture of professional opportunities or the lack thereof because they depend on a constant stream of students to pay the bills.
I took special notice of the section on the under-served areas of the country, since this is something we find in acupuncture too. The reference to the loan forgiveness programs was also informative. I know some of the leaders in our field have pointed to inclusion in these programs as a potential cure for some of our problems, but I see there is still quite a bit to learn about them.
The article does not consider whether the increase in health insurance for pets is contributing to the declining salaries. A topic for further consideration, perhaps.
The article reminds me of the topic of unintended consequences. I remember when eligiblility for federal student loans was celebrated as a great step forward for the profession. Now, I can’t help but think the main consequence has been to enable the schools to charge more, and students to unthinkingly take on more debt. I’m excited for the arrival of POCA tech — a school with a goal of making acupuncture education affordable. Not only does the school promise to be a great addition to the profession’s education options, but we can hope that competition for student dollars exerts some downward pressure on the other acupuncture schools’ tuition bills.