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December, 2003, Vol. 04, Issue 12
By Editorial Staff
The Acupuncture Poll's question for September 2003 was:
"Do you plan on enrolling in a doctoral program in acupuncture/Oriental medicine?"
Results are as follows:
These results are based upon 778 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:
No, I'm not interested in enrolling: This doctoral program is crazy! The general public doesn't even know the difference between an LAc and DOM. Where are the jobs? This (AcupunctureToday.com) is the main site for acupuncture job classifieds, and there aren't any there! How is this doctoral program going to benefit the job market for acupuncturists? Let's face the reality that this program is just another way for schools to drain money out of already financially challenged acupuncturists.
No, I'm not interested in enrolling: A doctoral degree would understandably be required for most teaching positions in colleges, as is the norm in graduate education in other fields. However, the possession of a degree says nothing at all about an individual's clinical ability, but rather their determination to pursue classroom studies and the depth of their purse. In fact, a seasoned practitioner with clinical experience would be a far better graduate teacher than a degree holder with little real experience. Do people go to acupuncture school to be of service, or do they want the prestige associated with referring to oneself as "doctor"? Once more, an example of our culture's preference for materialism over substance (is) now infiltrating the education of our colleagues.
Yes, I'm already enrolled in such a program: It's great!
No, I'm not interested in enrolling: The schools are hurting students by not requiring a four-year degree before entering the basic program. The running joke at my school was that anyone with a pulse and the ability to get financial aid could get into the program - and when the schools admit these underachieving students, they can teach to the lowest common denominator and be more likely to get away with it. If this was about raising educational standards, the movement would be to enact them in the four-year program. This is about money, and always has been.
No, I'm not interested in enrolling: I am disappointed so far in the listings I have seen of course offerings, and in the reasons given for obtaining such a degree.
Yes, I intend to enroll within the next 12 to 24 months: The doctoral degree is a natural, and I think, essential aspect for the profession. Even pharmacists and (in the next few years) physical therapists are trained at the doctoral level now. As it stands, we are the only (and I repeat only) independent medical professional that has diagnosing and treating rights without doctoral training. Where are the jobs? Why would hospitals offer them to us with three years of training and only two years of pre-professional training (which is why I think all states should require a bachelor's degree as a standard of licensure like New Jersey and Nevada do). Eventually a doctoral degree will and should be the standard entry-level.
Yes, I intend to enroll within the next 12 to 24 months: I feel there is a need to combine Eastern and Western medicine. I would love to be able to bring my own experiences to light, as I have been blessed with many benefits from acupressure. I pray one day soon that I will be able to fulfill my dream: to become an herbalist medical doctor versed in acupuncture.
Yes, I intend to enroll within the next 12 months: Anyone who has really learned anything at all from a three- or four-year TCM program in the U.S. must realize that in these schools, we are taught only the very basics. One of the goals of a graduate program is to allow the students the opportunity to approach a level close to that of a Chinese trained practitioner, which must include literacy in Chinese.
No, I'm not interested in enrolling: I am still paying off my MAc and Chinese herb education loans of 12 years ago, plus I now have 12 years experience as an acupuncturist and herbalist and 28 years in taiji and qigong. Why would I want to take on any more indebtedness, especially in this time of depressed economic conditions! The doctoral program makes no sense at all. I believe we can uphold standards of quality care without the extra time and expense of a doctoral program.