Proposal regarding Acupuncture Education

The POCA Tech Board of Directors has been studying what it takes to become an LAc and wondering whether there isn’t a better way. POCA Tech has been approved by ACAOM as a candidate for accreditation, and has graduates who are NCCAOM-credentialed, state-licensed and working in the field. The POCA Tech BOD is in a good position to know what works. Here’s what they propose –

Acupuncture Revisions Proposal

I’ve been around long enough to expect the proposal will be met with some outrage. We’ve been insisting that it is the hours of education we have that set us apart. And that almost 2000 hours of training only scratches the surface of what there is to know about Acupuncture and Asian Medicine.

I’ve also been around long enough to know that 1305 hours of training is enough to produce competent providers. That there are countless CEU programs and additional degree programs to help us deepen our knowledge. And that there is no clear evidence that our more extensive training leads to better outcomes.

People want acupuncture. We need more practitioners to meet the demand. And 100K in debt helps no one. I think the POCA Tech proposal makes a lot of sense. What do 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.

4 thoughts on “Proposal regarding Acupuncture Education

  1. Having suffered with chronic pain for 17 years, I want no one to have to go through what I did. Year 17 is when I found acupcunture, the only thing that helped me actually heal. I was injured as a child, and again at 17. At age 61 I continue to regain movement, flexibility and what I lost, I continue to get better. Anyone who wants that opportunity should have it. There should be higher levels of training for those that want to pay for it, but increasing entry level practitioner training and costs, restricting tiered licenses, is an obvious move for turf and money. Its why my NADA laws pass unanimously. Its too obvious to lawmakers. MDs fought nurses drawing blood…… disappointing to see our profession follow in the same elitist footsteps. There is enough room for all of us, whatever style we do, however extensive. If our profession understood the medical system more fully and actually educated the public, I believe we would stop taking actions that look like we are with holding medicine from people who need it. That is the effect of more educational requirements than are necessary for safe and competent practice. You do not need a bachelors degree to be a competent acupuncturist. Our profession was built by people with far less training. My hats off to Caylor Wadlington and Brian McKenna, for giving me an apprenticeship and working towards a better world with less sick people in it. The payment they asked me for was to help other people start in the acupuncture profession, a pledge I have upheld. Teachers who walk their talk/oath. Brian started the HIV Wellness Center in Austin, which is now a major chronic illness agency.

    • Thank you, Laura. I’m increasingly concerned with talk of tiered licensing. I thought we’d wisely left that idea behind. I can’t understand the level of us/them within the profession, whether it’s us LAcs vs other professions, or us with the 2000 hours vs 1300 hours – it all gets in the way of helping the many people who need our help. If the training is enough to be safe and effective, we shouldn’t be putting extra barriers in the way.

      • Hi, When I talk of tiered licensing, I am talking about Acupuncture Detoxification Specialists, and allowing them to do NADA Treatments for what NADA’s mission is, “behavioral health, including addictions, mental health, emotional and disaster trauma”. Acu Wellness practitioners is what they could be, doing true prevention medicine. I’m all for calling full body and ADSes Primary Prevention Specialists. I push back on this idea that prevention is getting your blood pressure checked, and I think as a profession we should be out there, full force, claiming this territory, its ours. You claim the territory by defining and claiming the language. Thanks Elaine, for your pragmatic approach. In Vermont, our complaints on PTs for dry needling backfired, with the legislature eventually passing a law that said every professional board will decide for itself if a safe and effective acupuncture training is in scope. Since I contacted and interacted with the medical society, the medical board, the office of professional regulation and the legislators, I am very clear on the actions taken and responses. Legislators didn’t want to make those decisions, so they gave it directly to the boards…..The Office of Professional Regulation suggested we offer bridge courses to PTs if we had concerns for safety, so as to make it safe. I suggested the same to the VTY association. There is no appetite for that apparently as several years later, none have been offered. Our profession is very transparent to the outside world. I’m afraid we have shot ourselves in the foot, history does seem to repeat itself unfortunately, and the perception that we want to withhold medicine from people who need it has only become more widespread.

        • My long-time readers know that I’ve found the acupuncture professions handling of dry needling to be based on one poor decision after another. There was an insistent belief that our licenses to do acupuncture gave our profession the power to determine what other professions did with this modality. Those with an understanding of how professional regulation works and recent legal developments in that arena understood the risks of our actions, but were sadly overruled. I can only hope we will learn from out mistakes.

          Thanks for the clarification of what you mean by tiered licensing.

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