As this is a voluntary, non-scientific survey, caution should be used in generalizing the results. Here is a sample of the comments made by those who took the survey and how they voted:
Fair: I've studied acupuncture in a variety of places and situations over the past 20 years. Unfortunately, I've seen a general deterioration in the quality of education during that time. We in the profession have reached the point where in far too many cases, students (or instructors with limited experience) are teaching new students. I've seen many people graduate and within a year or two of part-time clinical practice, they're writing books, producing tapes, and teaching classes and seminars in an effort to generate revenue. It's a tragic situation that I think many of us are aware of. Lately I've been reflecting on the fact that some of my earliest teachers were the best, in part because they understood what the essence of TCM is all about. Sadly, that's gradually being lost.
Excellent: I went to a school that forced us to look at and learn different styles of acupuncture. I found this very valuable. Unfortunately, I find the style of acupuncture predominately tested on the national boards not as effective as some of the other styles I learned in school.
Excellent: I often compare notes with other practitioners on how they handle situations. In general it appears to me that most colleges in California and New Mexico appear to have better schools and teachers · Many acupuncturists outside the states which have stricter requirements do not seem to have enough training in herbs and diagnostic skills.
Good: I received a very good education in many ways at my acupuncture school. However, it fell short in some areas, particularly in the area of palpation techniques. We got virtually no training in this area, and even after nearly five years in practice, though I have learned a lot from experience and observation, I still feel inadequate at it.
Poor: As a first-year student of TCM, I notice the quality of education is getting wider between classes taught in English and other languages. I'm sorry to say that English classes are far behind. I see two types of instructors in English classes: those who are very experienced but have English fluency problems, and those who are very fluent in English but have very little clinical experiences (no knowledge beyond the textbook). The level of education perhaps is suitable for those "acupuncturists" that are at a message therapist level rather than an OMD.
Average: As a recent graduate of a school undergoing major structural changes, I feel the quality of the education was less than I needed to competently treat upon graduation. The buzz line was, "Learn by treating. Don't worry, you'll do fine." While the quality of the senior faculty is excellent, classes are increasingly taught by recent (1-2 years out) graduates. I, and many of my classmates, were disappointed by gaps in the curriculum, to boot.
Good: I had an education better than most --- I went to two of the top schools. If I had only gone to one, the experience would have been mediocre. A lot of time is being wasted within most of the curricula. One of my schools had far too much Western training, the other not enough. I was able to create a program for myself that had a sum greater than the two halves combined. More hours, especially with more western training, is not what will make these programs/students better. More clinical training and higher paid professional teachers will.
Good: I've just graduated with a master's of Oriental medicine. I have recently completed both NCCAOM exams and am setting up my practice. I believe that a full education in Oriental medicine is very important at this time. I am attempting to set up my practice in the East and am finding that the general perception is that an acupuncturist is only to be associated with pain management and to be regulated by Western medical doctors. This is frustrating due to my training in internal medicine. I am proud of my training and the effectiveness of Oriental medicine to meet my community's health concerns. I will now work diligently to bring my state's legislation to a place that allows me the opportunity to practice as my training requires. Thanks for allowing me to comment.
Good: I wish we had studied herbs longer, and on a more thorough basis than we had time for in my program. I also wish we had been able to rotate to different acupuncturists offices in town, to either observe or intern.
Good: The basic TCM theory was excellent. The core Chinese teachers were excellent. The clinic experience was average: we needed more direct supervision from the clinic supervisors and more experienced clinic supervisors rather than recent graduates.
Average: My school's number-one goal, and I'm sure the goal of most schools, is to have their students pass the national boards, preferably on the first attempt. Because the board exam is based on CAM, that is where the academic emphasis is placed. We have an excellent group of PhD instructors from China who would like to share their knowledge with the students. But instead, they have to teach CAM, even when the instructors disagree with some of the information offered. If our national acupuncture exam would raise its standards, our schools could also.