Acupuncture Careers

ACAOM gainful employment — This deserves its own post.  I don’t have the head-space to write such a post at the moment.  I don’t even have the time to fully read and digest this document.  The little bit I can digest is making me sick to my stomach. I’m betting some of my readers would like to dig into this. I’d love to hear what you think.


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© Elaine Wolf Komarow and The Acupuncture Observer, 2013-2033. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express written permission from Elaine Wolf Komarow is prohibited. Excerpts and links are encouraged, provided that full and clear credit is given with specific direction to the original content.

11 thoughts on “Acupuncture Careers

  1. I disagree that practioners are doing great in acupuncture. Very few of the people I graduated with are even practicing. I believe that having no leadership to propel the profession forward is the cause of what is happening now. They dropped the ball long ago in the 1990’s when they should have been promoting and pushing our profession forward. OT’s were in the same boat at that time and look where they are and where acupuncture is? There is quite a difference. Acupuncture is not in demand and people can do without it. You may not like what I am saying but the majority of people do not have the extra money to pay for healthcare unless ist is covered by insurance. You can all say I am wrong but the trends will speak for themselves.
    It was a deep personal struggle for me to return to school because I did not want to but had to return. I had to face many of the issues that are being presented now and come to terms with the fact that we had no leadership. It is unfortunate but it is what it is. The fact is that I do not believe acupuncture will maintain a profession status it will be gobbled up by other healthcare professions and used as a modality. Many of you will disagree but I do believe that is what will happen.

  2. If anyone has any research time, here are some data points that would be helpful —

    # of acupuncture schools 20 years ago, hours of education required 20 years ago, average cost of an acupuncture education 20 years ago.

    I can’t decide which to be more pissed about today — these groups saying they represent us, or that they are pointing to the (purported “salaries”) of those who have been out for twenty years as somehow relevant to the experience of today’s graduates.

  3. I found the whole letter quite disingenuous and offensive. It is important to remember that this is about the business of education, not the AOM profession. Business being the operative word as they must make profit to remain viable.

    I find the “impact on American healthcare ” section laughable…a whopping 6.5%of Americans reported ever using acupuncture (NHIS, 2007…see The letter goes on to state “Acupuncture is more effective, safer with few to no side effects, more cost effective, and desired by the public.
    Hmmm, compared to what and what are your sources? Has this even been researched? If so, by whom. And again, desired by a whopping 6% of Americans!!!

    “Our AOM colleges are responding by providing even further education in practice management (read: how to be a snake oil salesman), while simultaneously opening doors to employment beyond the initial and traditional field of sole practice (how are they qualifying this??? Oh yeah. With nothing substantial)

    Discriminatory impact of loan eligibility:
    Statement: “we have seen many for-profit owners have lower salary ranges and distributions because smaller colleges operate with tight, limited budgets.”
    Have lower salary ranges than who??? Again, a single line offering (an acupuncture program) is an entrepreneurial endeavor…that’s why it is for profit. This cannot be compared to presidents of non-profit jr colleges or small non-profit 4yr colleges. Very different offerings and goals. A free-standing acupuncture school is like a massage therapy school or a truck driving school, NOT an academic center (though they would like to offer themselves up as such).
    The cry of discrimination against for-profit higher ed in medical healthcare (well first the phrase medical healthcare seems grammatically incorrect) rings hollow. The high debt loads acquired by graduates of PT, OT, graduate level nursing, PA, and medicine are countered by the readily available job offerings, therefore do not necessarily merit similar regulation.

    Here’s another humdinger:
    “For-profit institutions are able to provide these no -traditional medical degrees, and the needed flexibility, innovation, and creativity in delivering this type of education to those not able to attend mainstream institutions.”
    This sounds as if they’re saying “these poor stupid people couldn’t get into any real college/university so we promise to teach them to be doctors of another sort.”

    Perhaps we should work on crafting a response to this, have go viral and send it to Ashley Higgins at the USDOE, and send copies to ACAOM, CCAOM,NCCAOM, and acupuncture today.
    Who wants to help craft a response?

    • I intend to write two responses and will be happy to share/crowd-source. I think one letter to the DOE (despite it being past the deadline for comments for rulemaking) and one to the orgs. Right from the start I am angered and offended that the AAAOM, ACAOM, NCCAOM are claiming to represent 33K students and graduates. They don’t. How dare they claim to represent me.

      Honestly, everything about the “value” of the medicine is irrelevant. (And even the studies which show benefit from treatment don’t show that a longer, more expensive educational program = better outcomes.) The salary data is super-questionable. (Let’s not forget that the folks who graduated 20+ years ago did not have federal loans to pay for their (typically much shorter) education.) At 20 years the unsuccessful folks have left the field….

      Anyway, there is almost no paragraph in that letter that should stand without correction or challenge. There is so much there that it is hard to know where to begin. But, one day soon, I will.

  4. Hi All,

    Unfortunately I am not surprised. I heard about this a year ago. If a profession does not produce a certain amount of jobs they will not be eligible for financial aid but they seemed to have add more requirements to this new requirement. I am not surprised at all. The medical community is changing it’s environment. I think we should all prepare for the change. There is little we can do to change this movement.

    • The surprise is not that this data is being asked for. Many of us knew it was coming and support the trend. The surprise is that ACAOM, NCCAOM, AAAOM are arguing that they don’t want to release the data because it might discourage people from going to acupuncture school, and that the data wouldn’t even be reflective because, really, practitioners are doing great. The data they use is questionable, and the argument that it is better for potential students not to know how little they are likely to make in their first few years of practice is reprehensible.

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