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October, 2003, Vol. 04, Issue 10
By Editorial Staff
The Acupuncture Poll's question for July 2003 was:
"How much did it cost you to attend acupuncture school?"
Results are as follows:
These results are based upon 414 responses. 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:
Between $15,000 and $30,000: [this is] not counting books, a car that got great mileage and lost time from work, but I'd do it all over again!
More than $60,000: When I went to school, there were basically three types of students. The first type were financed either by their parents or their spouses. They took a leisurely approach, left school with no loans, and now have the luxury of spending all their time building practices. The second group worked part-time to reduce the amount of student loans. This group typically graduated with about $40,000 in loans. They continued working after graduation and therefore are building practices more slowly. The last group took out full loans and typically graduated with around $80,000 in debt. This is the group that is struggling the most.
When you graduate from acupuncture school, you're not going to get a salaried position in some hospital or medical center like an MD would. You're building a business, which is a feat that most acupuncturists are not equipped to handle. You need capital to build a business so that it survives. Graduating with $80,000 in debt is almost a prescription for failure in my opinion. I don't know how these classmates are faring. No matter how you cut it, going into this profession is expensive, mainly because so much of it is business once you get out. It's unfortunate that you're forced to become an entrepreneur instead of just a healer, but that seems to be the reality at this time.
Between $30,000 and $45,000: The cost of an acupuncture education today not only includes the costs for the curriculum and its overhead, but the costs of accreditation and the requirements for accreditation, making most acupuncture programs definitely a bargain.
More than $60,000: With student loan money, it cost about $97,000.
Between $15,000 and $30,000: The increases in the cost of acupuncture school are mainly due to the increase in requirements for Western medicine. This is not beneficial for acupuncture students.
More than $60,000: Tuition and books: around $42,000. Living expenses for four years: around $55,000. Psychological toll taken: priceless.