Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a system of healing dating back thousands of years. Chinese medicine is believed to be at least 2,000 years old and some say it has been practiced for more than 3,000 years. Today, Chinese medicine is practiced all over the world. Schools and colleges teaching Chinese medical disciplines, such as acupuncture and herbology, offer programs for students interested in traditional classroom training and distance learning.
Chinese medical courses cover therapies such as acupuncture, acupressure, herbal remedies, diet, exercise, and techniques like cupping and moxibustion. People who complete programs in TCM are able to treat patients in natural healing centers and independent practices. Graduates frequently go on to become acupuncturists, chiropractors, bodyworkers, herbalists, and holistic healers.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Chinese medicine is an accepted form of healing in many parts of the world, though in the United States and other areas it is considered alternative medicine. TCM takes a vastly different approach to healing than Western medicine. The system is based on principles such as five element theory, the Yin and Yang principle, and Zang Fu.
A main component of Chinese medicine is working with chi, or life-force energy. Chi is believed to circulate through the body along energy channels. Blockages of chi or imbalances can make people ill or slow healing from injuries.
Upon graduation from a school of Chinese medicine, most people become a practitioner and treat patients at centers, hospitals or private practices. People who practice TCM often have specializations and may offer different treatment protocols based upon their area of expertise. A significant part of being a TCM practitioner is diagnosing issues with chi flow and correcting them using various techniques, such as herbs, dietary therapy, or acupuncture.
In Chinese medicine schools, students learn how to treat physical health issues, such as joint pain and digestive issues, along with mental and emotional problems, including stress and fatigue. A TCM practitioner should know how to identify and relieve a range of health concerns, as well as give advice for prevention. TCM can relieve pain involving the musculoskeletal system and issues affecting the internal organs. It is also useful for concerns like weight management and breaking unhealthy habits, such as smoking cigarettes or making poor eating choices.
Some people choose instead to teaching TCM. Other possibilities include working for a company who sells herbal supplements or acupuncture supplies, conducting research or publishing information related to Chinese medicine.
Around 20,000 to 25,000 people in the US alone are licensed to practice TCM. Practitioners make around $30,000 to $60,000 a year, according to the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. However, salaries range by area and experience. Some acupuncturists or Chinese medicine practitioners make six figure salaries.
Completing a degree program for Chinese medicine generally takes four years, though students may complete an acupuncture program in three. Doctorate degrees are not necessary to practice TCM though they are offered at some schools for students who wish to further their education. Most people obtain the minimum for working in the US, which is a master’s degree.
Examinations and Licensure
Attending a school for Chinese medicine prepares students for examinations required for becoming licensed practitioners. Licensing requirements may vary in different places, but generally a student must complete an application and pass a test.
In the US, people usually take national exams administered by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). Passing an NCCAOM exam is required by most states for a license. Students who pass are also eligible for licensure that allows them to practice in multiple states. Those who pass a Commission’s certification examination in acupuncture, Chinese herbology, Oriental medicine, or Asian bodywork therapy earn the designation “Diplomate.” They may add Dipl. Ac., Dipl. C.H., Dipl. O.M., or Dipl. A.B.T. respectively as titles.
Students must get their training at an accredited school in the US or an international school with comparable programs. International students must submit a Foreign Education Review Application to the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. If their program is deemed comparable to an accredited US school, students but then must pass one of the national exams given by NCCAOM.
The Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) is the agency in the US that gives accreditation and pre-accreditation to master’s level certificate programs in Oriental Medicine and acupuncture as well as diploma programs. It also accredits master’s degree and doctoral degrees programs in Oriental Medicine and acupuncture. The agency can also give accreditation to freestanding schools that have Chinese medicine programs.
The ACAOM comprises more than 60 colleges and institutions offering Chinese medicine courses in the US that are either accredited or are candidates for accreditation.
The ACAOM is not the only established accrediting agency for Chinese medicine in the world. Students who prefer to study abroad can find quality Chinese medicine schools through accrediting agencies in other countries. Australia has the Chinese Medicine Board to reviews schools and awards accreditation to programs or freestanding colleges and institutions.
The United Kingdom has the Traditional Chinese Medicine Accreditation Board. This independent board gives accreditation to schools that offer education in Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture.
Chinese Medical Schools
Students who want to take courses in Chinese medicine have several options. Large universities offer Chinese medicine programs along with a range of other degree programs. Smaller colleges may have TCM classes along with other alternative therapies. Some schools are dedicated exclusively to Chinese medicine programs.
Schools also differ on the length of programs they offer. Some may have certification programs while others award master’s or doctorate degrees in TCM. Before choosing a school, students should consider if they wish to obtain a doctorate degree and can afford it as it is generally easier, and faster, to get through an entire doctorate program if students begin their education at the same school.
Chinese Medicine Schools in the United States
|American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine||Masters in Traditional Chinese Medicine||$67,297.50||3 to 4 Years||USA|
|American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine||Doctorate in Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine||$27,750.00||2 Years||USA|
|New York College of Traditional Chinese Medicine||Bachelor of Professional Studies/Master of Science in Health/Acupuncture||$49,945.00||3 Years||USA|
|New York College of Traditional Chinese Medicine||Bachelor of Professional Studies/Master of Science in Health/Oriental Medicine||$60,120.00||4 Years||USA|
|Oregon College of Oriental Medicine||Master’s in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine||$73,476.00||3 Years||USA|
|Oregon College of Oriental Medicine||Doctorate in Oriental Medicine||$35,394.00||2 Years||USA|
|Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (California)||Bachelor of Health Science in Asian Holistic Heath and Massage||$18,680.00||2 Years (An Associate’s Degree is a Prerequisite)||USA|
|Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (California)||Master’s of Science Traditional Chinese Medicine||$57,700.00||4 Years||USA|
|Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (California)||Doctorate of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine||$26,865.00||2 to 3 Years||USA|
|Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (Illinois)||Bachelor’s of Science Traditional Oriental Medicine||$21,566.00||2 Years (An Associate’s Degree is a Prerequisite)||USA|
|Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (Illinois)||Master’s of Science Traditional Oriental Medicine||$61,550.00||4 Years||USA|
|Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (New York)||Bachelor’s of Science Traditional Oriental Medicine||$27,460.00||2 Years (An Associate’s Degree is a Prerequisite)||USA|
|Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (New York)||Master’s of Science Acupuncture – Classical Chinese Medicine Track||$68,000.00||3 to 4 Years||USA|
|Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (New York)||Master’s of Science Acupuncture – Traditional Chinese Medicine Track||$67,400.00||3 to 4 Years||USA|
|Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (New York)||Master’s of Science Traditional Oriental Medicine||$78,060.00||4 Years||USA|
|Texas College of Traditional Chinese Medicine||Master’s of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine||$45,800.00||3 to 4 Years||USA|
Chinese medical courses are taught at numerous schools within the US. The ACAOM and other agencies observe schools to identify the top schools in the country out of the hundreds of choices. The best schools receive accreditation from the ACAOM. Many schools offer some TCM coursework, but a few schools stand out by awarding bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and providing the highest quality training.
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine
The Pacific College of Oriental Medicine has three accredited locations across the US. The Department of Consumer Affairs Acupuncture Board lists all three locations on their list of approved schools and the ACAOM has accredited the master’s program at each school. All three locations have Chinese medicine courses but the fees are different. Also, the California school is the only one that offers a doctorate.
The Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in San Diego, California has several degree programs and certifications in Chinese medicine. The school awards a Master of Science in Traditional Oriental Medicine, a Bachelor of Health Science in Asian Holistic Heath and Massage, and a Doctorate of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
The MS in Traditional Oriental Medicine is a four-year accredited program that comprises 191 units and 3,500 credit hours. The program includes coursework in acupoints, needle technique, tuina, anatomy, Eastern nutrition, physiology, and herbology, as well as information on diagnosing and treating disease from a Chinese perspective. Graduates are qualified to sit for national certification exams and are eligible for licensure exams in California, New York, and Illinois. Students may also take massage therapy courses to earn a massage license and work while finishing their master’s program.
The Bachelor of Health Science (Asian Holistic Health & Massage) program gives advanced training in Oriental medicine theory, Asian holistic health and bodywork. It is a 64.5 unit program meant to add on to an existing associate’s degree. Students should take two years to complete the bachelor’s degree after obtaining an associates somewhere else. Graduates will have met requirements for massage certification as set by the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. The program also meets requirements to become a licensed massage therapist in California and fulfills the requirements of the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.
The tuition and fees for the Bachelor of Health Science in Asian Holistic Health & Massage program is $18,680 if students attend classes full-time. Tuition may be more if students need more than the normal time to complete the program. Books and supplies cost an additional $1,050.
The California location also has a Doctorate of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine program for students who wish to continue their training in Chinese medicine. The program emphasizes critical thinking and self-directed learning with a TCM framework. Students study advanced coursework in neurology, mental health, pediatrics, women’s health, orthopedics, geriatrics, and preventative medicine. The application and relevancy of classical Chinese texts in modern TCM is discussed.
The doctorate degrees is six semesters long, culminating in 1,252.5 hours and 61.5 credits, which includes 22 units of clinical courses and 39.5 units of didactic coursework.
The program comprises five tracks, which are:
- Track 1 – Family Medicine
- Track 2 – Application of Chinese Classics
- Track 3 – Chinese Medical Chinese Language
- Track 4 – Evidence-Based Medicine
- Track 5 – Clinical Training
The cost of the program is $26,865 in tuition. Books and supplies are an additional $4,410.
The New York location of the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine has a Master of Science in Traditional Oriental Medicine and Master of Science in Acupuncture programs. The school is in New York City.
The Master of Science in Traditional Oriental Medicine program is similar to the program offered at the California school. It comprises nearly 3,500 hours and 188.5 credit units, which covers classroom and clinical training. The tuition is $78,060. Books and supplies cost around $4,910.
The Master of Science in Acupuncture program takes 3 to 4 years to complete and comprises 156 or 157 credit units. Students can choose from a Traditional Chinese Medicine Track and a Classical Chinese Medicine track. Both programs require approximately 3,000 hours of training in theory and clinical practice. Both programs cover acupuncture techniques, theories, diagnosis, and treatment. Graduates can sit for national acupuncture examinations and meet the requirements for licensure in New York state.
The tuition for the Traditional Chinese Medicine track is $67,400. The Classical Chinese Medicine track costs $68,000. Books and supplies for each track costs $3,915.
The New York location also has a Bachelor of Professional Studies (Asian Holistic Health & Massage) program. The bachelor’s program is similar to the program in California. It is the same amount of credits and requires a two-year time commitment after obtaining an associate’s degree from another institution. The cost of the program in New York is $27,460 in tuition and $1,335 for books and supplies.
The Illinois location is located in Chicago and offers students the ability to earn either a MS in Traditional Oriental Medicine or a BS in Asian Holistic Health & Massage. The BS program is the same as at the other locations. The MS program is 191 units like the California program.
Tuition for the the BS in Asian Holistic Health & Massage is $21,566 plus $850 for books and supplies. The MS program in Chicago costs $61,550 for tuition and $4,500 for books and supplies.
American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Students can earn a Masters in Traditional Chinese Medicine or a Doctorate in Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine from the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine located in San Francisco, California. The school has been accredited by the ACAOM since 1991 and was one of the three Best of the West 2002 overall winners as named by Traditional Chinese Medicine World. The school also is approved by the Acupuncture Board.
The MS program prepares students for a career as an independent health care provider. Graduates are qualified to become licensed acupuncturists. The program is an entry level degree to obtain licensure in the California and other states.
The tuition cost for a MS in TCM is $67,297.50. The program is 3,131 hours and takes around 3 to 4 years to complete full-time.
The doctorate program was one of the first ones in the US. Since 2006, the program was accredited by the ACAOM and the California Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education. The advanced program is only available to students with a master’s in Oriental medicine or who have worked for a minimum of 10 years as a licensed practitioner with formal college training in Oriental medicine or acupuncture.
The school has two specialty programs for students to choose from: TCM Pain Management and TCM Gynecology. In addition to classroom training, students also complete externships. Students may work at the Yue Yang Hospital of Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine or they can work under the supervision of a senior AOM practitioner of their choice.
Tuition for the doctorate program is $27,750. The program comprises 1,232 hours and takes around 2 years to complete.
New York College of Traditional Chinese Medicine
The New York College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (NYCTCM) was founded by Dr. Chi Chow in 1996. Dr. Chow desired to start a school that would teach TCM is a similar manner to how Chinese schools operated but that would make sense to students familiar with Western style medical practice.
NYCTCM prepares students to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients. Students are given a basic understanding of Western medicine and Chinese culture and philosophy as it applies to TCM. Their program qualifies students to take the NCCAOM exam and meets the licensure requirements for New York state.
NYCTCM has two accredited programs for students interested in Chinese medical courses and an herbology certificate program. The school’s programs include:
- Bachelor of Professional Studies/Master of Science in Health/Acupuncture program
- Bachelor of Professional Studies/Master of Science in Health/Oriental Medicine program
- Herbal Certificate program
The Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine programs were accredited by the ACAOM in 2002. The Acupuncture program takes three years of full-time attendance to complete. It comprises 141 credit hours taken over 9 trimesters. The program includes three strands of medical courses, including Acupuncture, TCM and Western Biomedical Sciences. The TCM strand teaches students about the fundamental theories of Chinese philosophy, such as Yin and Yang theory and Five Element theory. Coursework also includes diagnosis, treatment principles, syndrome analysis, pathogensis, and clinical acupuncture practice.
The acupuncture strand addresses the practical applications of TCM. Subjects taught include locating acupoints, meridians, needle technique, and case analysis.
Students must also complete a four-phase clinical practice. The first phase includes 120 hours of observation of acupuncture practice, such as patient intakes and needling. The second phase is 60 hours of assistantship in which students assist with treatment procedures. The assistantship portion of the program is followed by a 240-hour junior internship. Students begin to diagnose and needle patients while being guided by an instructor. The final phase is a 300-hour senior internship. Students have minimal supervision during their senior internship.
Students may also take the four-year, 12 trimester Oriental Medicine Program. This program is 184 credits and includes a fourth strand: Chinese Herbology. During the Chinese Herbology strand, students learn about 400 individual herbs and approximately 250 combinations to make herbal remedies.
Students in the Oriental medicine program must also complete a clinical requirement similar to the Acupuncture program. The hour requirements are longer though. Students must spend an additional 120 hours in their junior internship. The senior internship is 60 hours longer as well. Oriental medicine students must also pass an herbal formulas test after their junior internship before being allowed to start their senior internship.
The herbal certificate program prepares students for the NCCAOM Chinese Herbology exam. The program is designed for students who have already completed an acupuncture program or are a licensed acupuncturist.
NYCTCM charges different fees per trimester for their acupuncture and oriental medicine programs. The Acupuncture program fees per trimester are:
- Trimester 1 – $3,360
- Trimester 2 – $3,640
- Trimester 3 – $5,040
- Trimester 4 – $5,600
- Trimester 5 – $5,040
- Trimester 6 – $5,540
- Trimester 7 – $6,100
- Trimester 8 – $5,540
- Trimester 9 – $6,085
Fees for the Oriental Medicine program are as follows:
- Trimester 1 $3,360
- Trimester 2 $3,640
- Trimester 3 $4,480
- Trimester 4 $5,320
- Trimester 5 $5,040
- Trimester 6 $4,480
- Trimester 7 $5,540
- Trimester 8 $5,820
- Trimester 9 $6,100
- Trimester 10 $5,540
- Trimester 11 $5,260
- Trimester 12 $5,540
Students can attend courses part-time but must complete Acupuncture programs within six years of their start date and Oriental Medicine programs within eight years.
Oregon College of Oriental Medicine
The Oregon College of Oriental Medicine located in Portland, Oregon has TCM programs for both master’s and doctoral degrees. The school has been accredited by the ACAOM since 1989 and was also an overall winner for the Best of West 2002. It is approved by the Acupuncture Board as well. The Oregon College of Oriental Medicine was the first in the US to graduate a class of doctorate of Asian Oriental medicine students in 2005.
The master’s degree program in acupuncture and Oriental medicine comprises many aspects of TCM. Students learn acupuncture theory and techniques, TCM theory, herbology, biomedicine, and Oriental massage techniques. Clinical training consisting of 996 hours of time is also included in the program.
In addition to Chinese medicine courses, students are taught chi cultivation. This includes a year of basic qigong training and either a second year of advanced training or a year of tai chi.
The master’s program is 3,344.5 hours of training. This is equal to 216 quarter credit units.
Students can choose a 3-year, 4-year or 6-year time frame to fulfill requirements for their degree. The total cost of tuition for the 3-year program is $73,476. The 4-year program costs $83,160. Students on the 6-year program pay $101,882 in tuition.
The doctoral program includes five primary competencies that students must master to earn their degree. These include an ability to integrate Chinese medicine and Western biomedicine in terms of diagnosis and treatment; the ability to understand and communicate advanced principles of clinical biomedicine; the ability to use specialization skills effectively when treating patients; the ability to evaluate and apply new information in the field of acupuncture and Oriental medicine; and students must show potential to make important scholarly contributions as a practitioner of Chinese medicine.
The doctoral program takes two years to complete. It comprises 1,224 credit hours and is taken as a series of on-campus modules. The tuition for the two-year program is $35,394 total.
Texas College of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Texas College of Traditional Chinese Medicine has been an accredited school by the ACAOM since 1996 and was an overall winner in 2002 for the Best of the West contest. The school is located in Austin.
The Texas College of TCM has a master’s program that covers diagnosis, herbology, five element theory, and meridian theory. Students may choose elective courses to specialize in areas such as TCM neurology, dermatology, sports medicine, and side effects of Western medicine. The program also has six semesters of clinical training.
The program takes 40 months to complete. Tuition is $45,800 for the total master’s program.
Schools in Australia
|Endeavour College of Natural Health||Bachelor of Health Science (Acupuncture)||$66,866.00||4 Years||Australia|
|RMIT University||Bachelor of Applied Science (Chinese Medicine) and Bachelor of Applied Science (Human Biology)||$21,600 Per Year||5 Years||Australia|
|RMIT University||Bachelor Health Science (Acupuncture and Chinese Manual Therapy)||$16,320 Per Year||4 Years||Australia|
|RMIT University||Master of Applied Science (Chinese Herbal Medicine)||$16,320 Per Year||3 Years||Australia|
|RMIT University||Master of Applied Science (Acupuncture)||$16,320 Per Year||3 Years||Australia|
|Southern School of Natural Therapies||Bachelor of Health Science in Chinese Medicine||Contact for Tuition Information||4 Years||Australia|
|University of Western Sydney||Bachelor of Health Science/Master of Traditional Chinese Medicine||AUD $22,760||4 Years||Australia|
Australia has some of the best schools for Chinese medical degrees. TCM education is overseen by the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia and top programs receive accreditation.
RMIT University is Australia’s biggest tertiary institution with one campus in Melbourne and two campuses in Vietnam. The university offers programs in health as well as communications, business, design, and technology. Out of the 74,000 students who attend RMIT 30,000 are international.
TCM students can earn a dual degree consisting of a Bachelor of Applied Science (Chinese Medicine) and Bachelor of Applied Science (Human Biology). The program is accredited by the Chinese Medicine Board, as are RMIT’s Bachelor Health Science (Acupuncture and Chinese Manual Therapy), Master of Applied Science (Chinese Herbal Medicine) and Master of Applied Science (Acupuncture) programs.
The Bachelor of Applied Science in Chinese Medicine and Bachelor of Applied Science in Human Biology is a 5-year program. The program emphasizes integrating Chinese and Western medical philosophies and practices. The program includes acupuncture treatments, Chinese herbology and information on Western sciences and diagnosis. Students get to participate in an internship at the Nanjing University hospital in China during their fifth year. It is one of the country’s busiest hospitals. Students can expect to see around 30 patients daily.
It takes three years for students to earn either the Master of Applied Science in Chinese Herbal Medicine or Acupuncture degrees. The Chinese Herbology Medicine program includes Chinese theories and practices, toxicology, botany, herb-drug interactions, and chemistry. Students are taught how to provide treatments and conduct research. Graduates meet the Chinese Medicine Registration Board of Victoria’s requirements.
The master’s degree in acupuncture emphasizes acupuncture techniques, theories and clinical applications. The program integrates neurophysiology and modern medical research into its approach to acupuncture.
The Bachelor Health Science (Acupuncture and Chinese Manual Therapy) is a four-year program. Graduates receive an undergraduate degree in acupuncture and Chinese manual therapy that prepares them for post-graduate work. Students learn the foundations of these Chinese medical techniques.
RMIT charges different amounts to students in single degree programs and dual degree programs. Students enrolled in the dual Bachelor of Applied Science (Chinese Medicine) and Bachelor of Applied Science (Human Biology) pay $21,600 per year or $200 per credit for 180 credits when taking classes full-time. Students in a single degree program take 96 credits per year at $170 per credit, which costs $16,320 per year. Other fees include a clinic uniform and name badge at $2,500 as well as fees for textbooks and diagnostic equipment. Students in their fifth year must pay for their travel and accommodations related to a clinical internship in China, which costs around $3,000.
Endeavour College of Natural Health
The Brisbane and Melbourne campuses of the Endeavour College of Natural Health have TCM programs accredited by the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia. The college offers a Bachelor of Health Science in Acupuncture, which is a four-year undergraduate program. The various campuses have additional TCM programs that are not currently accredited.
Acupuncture students at Endeavor College of Natural Health learn a holistic approach to TCM and applying Chinese philosophy. Graduates treat patients by restoring chi flow through the use of acupuncture needles, fingers or lasers applied to acupoints.
Southern School of Natural Therapies
The Southern School of Natural Therapies is located in Melbourne and was founded by in 1961 by Alfred Jacka in 1961. The school offers a Bachelor of Health Science in Chinese Medicine that is accredited by the Chinese Medicine Board. The program is a 4-year undergraduate degree program that gives students a thorough understanding of the balance of Ying and Yang energy in the body and how chi manipulation improves health. Coursework covers Chinese herbs, acupuncture, research, medicine studies, and biological and social studies.
The school also offers coursework in naturopathy, clinical myotherapy and massage therapy.
University of Western Sydney
The University of Western Sydney has a combined program that gives students a Bachelor of Health Science and Master of Traditional Chinese Medicine in four years. The college offers other TCM programs, but this combined degree program is accredited by the Chinese Medicine Board. Students enrolled in this program obtain 900 hours of clinical experience. Enrolled students receive training in the university’s on site clinical training facility, UniClinic. A minimum of 250 hours of training at the clinic is required for program completion. Students also get 400 hours of experience working in a leading hospital in China during their fourth year. The hospital provides interpreters and clinical supervisors. Arrangements are made by University of Western Sydney staff who also accompany students to the hospital.
Students must attend full-time to graduate in four years. Patti-time study is allowed but the school does not offer evening classes. The professional practice placements are only available as full-time commitments. The cost of the program is AUD $22,760 per year, but local students may qualify for government assistance.
Students who choose to study at the University of Western Sydney have access to complementary medicine and analysis laboratories, medical school facilities and library resources that include both Chinese and Western medicine.
Schools in China
|Beijing University of Chinese Medicine||Bachelor’s of Science Traditional Chinese Medicine||45,000 RMB Per Year||5 Years||China|
|Dalian Medical University||Masters in Basic Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine||RMB 32,000 Per Year||3 Years||China|
|Dalian Medical University||Masters in Clinical Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine||RMB 32,000 Per Year||3 Years||China|
|Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine||Bachelor’s of Medicine in Traditional Chinese Medicine||￥28,000.00 Per Year||5 Years||China|
|Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine||Combined Bachelor’s of Medicine and Master’s of Medicine in TCM||￥28,000.00 Per Year||7 Years||China|
|Southern Medical University||Doctoral Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine Integration Western Medicine||RMB 60,000 Per Year||4 Years||China|
Students who want authentic TCM training in the place of its origin can find several schools that teach Chinese medical courses.
Beijing University of Chinese Medicine
The Beijing University of Chinese Medicine located in Beijing is one of China’s top medical universities. International students frequently choose Beijing University of Chinese Medicine for their traditional Chinese medicine courses.
The university offers a bachelor’s degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine taught in English. The program includes acupuncture and is taught over five years. This program covers TCM history, theories of TCM, anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, TCM herbology, biochemistry, and diagnostics. The program costs 45,000 RMB per year for English-language courses.
Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine was one of the first colleges of TCM in China. It was founded in 1956 and has provided education for almost 6,000 acupuncturists, TCM doctors, and physical therapists from nearly 100 countries around the world. The university is also home to an International Acupuncture Training Center entrusted by the World Health Organization.
Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine offers acupuncture training along with coursework in tuina massage, Chinese medicine beauty, and elderly health care and nursing. Students can obtain a bachelor’s degree in acupuncture and tuina and a bachelor’ in Chinese medicine (acupuncture). Both programs are five years in length. The acupuncture and tuina program is taught in Chinese, but the Chinese medicine program is taught in English.
The school also has a seven-year combined program for a Bachelor of Medicine Degree and Master of Medicine Degree in TCM taught in English. The TCM programs include coursework in the basics of TCM, diagnostics, herbology, physics, chemistry, pathology, microbiology, genetics, acupuncture, TCM pediatrics, internal and external TCM medicine, moxibustion, and TCM gynecology. The cost for any of the programs is ￥28,000.00 per year.
Southern Medical University
Southern Medical University was founded in 1951 and was notarized as a
premier medical university in 1978. Today, the school offers 22
bachelor degree programs and draws many international students.
The university is located in Guangzhou.
Southern Medical University offers a four-year doctoral degree program in Traditional Chinese Medicine With Integration Western Medicine. The cost of the program is RMB 60,000 per year.
Dalian Medical University
Dalian Medical University located in the city of Dalian has several degree programs for students who wish to learn acupuncture and Chinese medical theories. The school was founded in 1947. Today, Dalian Medical University is known for recruiting famous professors and providing quality short and long term program that attracts international students.
The university gives English-speaking students two choices for master’s degree programs: the Clinical Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine program and the Basic Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine program. Both programs are three years long and cost RMB 32,000 per year. Applicants must already have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent to apply for either masters program.
Dalian Medical University also has a bachelor’s degree in acupuncture and tuina and a doctoral degree in Clinical Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine both taught in Chinese.
Schools in the United Kingdom
Some of the top TCM schools are in the United Kingdom. These schools are accredited by the Traditional Chinese Medicine Accreditation Board (TCMAB). The board gives either a full accreditation status or it recognizes coursework in TCM and acupuncture from certain institutions. Two schools have been given full accreditation by TCMAB, including Glyndwr University in Dublin and the Acupuncture Foundation in Wrexham.
The Acupuncture Foundation
The Acupuncture Foundation at the Irish Institute of Chinese Medicine awards a Bachelor of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine (Acupuncture and Moxibustion). It also has post-graduate certification programs in TCM.
The bachelor’s program in TCM takes four years of full-time study to complete. The program is jointly offered in partnership with the Nanjing University of Chinese medicine. Students complete coursework for a BS degree and training to become a Chinese medicine practitioner and acupuncturist. The program is set up for students who work, with lectures and training sessions offered on weekends. Some coursework is offered online as well through an extensive E Learning program. The cost is €4,100 P.A.
The Acupuncture Foundation also offers students who have completed a BS program a post graduate diploma in traditional Chinese tuina. Tuina is a type of bodywork that has been used for centuries to treat pain, poor range of motion, musculoskeletal disorders and sports injuries.
The school also awards a post graduate certificate in Chinese herbology and training in biomedical acupuncture. Biomedical acupuncture covers how to safely and effective employ acupuncture techniques within a Western evidence-based framework.
Programs at the Acupuncture Foundation are accredited by the TCMAB and the Association of Chinese Herbalists in Ireland.
Glyndwr University also has full accreditation from the TCMAB. Students can receive a bachelor’s of science in acupuncture. Glyndwr University’s acupuncture program teaches students about the Chinese beliefs of a relationship between nature (the Tao) and people.
Students in the acupuncture program are introduced to a range of Chinese medicine theories, including the macrocosm and microcosm, yin and yang, chi, and diagnostics. Students learn how to apply these theories practically during acupuncture treatments.
The acupuncture program also teaches students about health sciences, research, critical thinking, communication, information gathering, and presentation.
The program takes three years of full-time attendance to complete. Tuition is £6,950 per year for full-time students. Students may also attend classes part-time and take five years to complete the program.
Middlesex University is a school in London that offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees programs in TCM. Their bachelor’s of science in acupuncture is a three-year program accredited by the British Acupuncture Accreditation Board. The program combines acupuncture training with tuina techniques. Tuition is £9,000 per year. International students pay £10,400 per year.
Students at Middlesex University can also get a bachelor’s of science in TCM. The program is accredited by the British Acupuncture Accreditation Board and European Herbal and Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association. Their TCM program was the first of its kind offered outside of China. The program takes four years to complete and includes coursework in acupuncture, herbology and TCM theories. Tuition is £9,000 per year. International students pay £10,400 per year.
Middlesex University also has a one-year master’s in Chinese medicine program. The master’s program is designed for acupuncturists and TCM practitioners who want advanced training. Students are given flexibility in choosing their coursework. Students also have a choice of doing their clinical training through the Asante Academy of Chinese Medicine in the UK or through the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine in China. The tuition is £7,500 for full-time students and : £10,600 for international students.
Schools in Canada
|Alberta College of Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine||Doctor of Acupuncture||$4,900 Per Semester||3 Years||Canada|
|Alberta College of Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine||Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine||$4,900 Per Semester||4 Years||Canada|
In Canada, the practice of Chinese medicine is largely unregulated. People with any training in TCM or acupuncture can legally practice in any province without regulation except British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, and Ontario. The College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of British Columbia regulates acupuncturists in BC. The term college refers to a regulating body, not an educational institution. The provincial health ministry Alberta Health and Wellness regulates acupuncture in Alberta. L’ordre des acupuncteurs du Québec regulates acupuncture in Quebec. A transitional council for a new College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of Ontario will regulate the profession in Ontario in the future.
Students can obtain degrees in Chinese medicine from Canadian schools. However, students should check with the province they wish to practice in for current training requirements.
College of Traditional Chinese Medicine & Pharmacology Canada
The College of Traditional Chinese Medicine & Pharmacology Canada was founded in 1993 and has a cooperative agreement with the Capital Medical University in Beijing, China. The college has been registered as a Private career college since 2011. The school has an acupuncture and TCM programs as well as a registered massage therapy program.
The acupuncture program teaches students the basics of TCM, acupuncture, and biomedicine, plus includes clinical training and an internship. The two-year program is six semesters long and consists of 2,200 hours of training.
The college’s TCM program is a continuation of the acupuncture program. The entire program is 4,000 hours long including the 2,220 hours of acupuncture training. The TCM program itself takes two years spaced over six semesters. The TCM program includes coursework in biomedicine, clinical TCM, such as TCM internal and external medicine, and the four classical TCM canons. Students must also complete an internship and clinical training.
The tuition for either the acupuncture or TCM program is $13,350. This is for full-time attendance. Students who wish to do the program part-time can pay by the course. The program costs $15,540 for part-time students.
The school also offers students the opportunity to take an advanced course on the combined use of TCM and Western medicine. The course is taught at the Beijing Capital University of Medical Science and affiliated hospitals.
Alberta College of Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine
The Alberta College of Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine is a top educational and research institution for acupuncture and TCM. It was the first of its kind to be established in Alberta. The school developed an exclusive relationship with the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine in 2002. The school then became the Canadian Education Centre of Beijing University of Chinese Medicine in 2005. Students can choose from either the Doctor of Acupuncture or Doctor of TCM program at the Alberta College of Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine.
The Doctor of Acupuncture takes three years to obtain. It has full approval from the Acupuncture Committee of Alberta, of the Alberta Health and Wellness ministry. Graduates can earn the title of Dr. of Acupuncture, which means a registered acupuncturist in Alberta.
The Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine is a four-year diploma program that trains students to practice TCM. Students are given coursework in acupuncture, herbology, cupping, tuina, and other TCM modalities.
The tuition for either program is $4,900 per semester for full-time students. Part-time students pay $14 per credit hour.
Online TCM Schools
Chinese medicine courses are taught online, but these courses cannot replace the hands on experience students get training in a classroom or clinical setting. Many TCM schools allow students to complete some portion of their degree program online, but do not award degrees from only online instruction. Online TCM coursework is usually reserved for continuing education or specializations, not complete degree programs.
Students who already have experience with classroom TCM training or who are looking for basic training that leads to a certification and not a degree can sign up for the Mebo TCM Online Training Program. This program is run by the Beijing Mebo TCM Training Center and the China Academy of Chinese Medicine Sciences. The training program consists of seven online courses in TCM, including:
- Basic Theory of TCM and Diagnosis of TCM
- Acupuncture and Moxibustion Theory, and Acupuncture and Moxibustion Treatment
- Basic Theory of TCM, Diagnosis of TCM, Acupuncture and Moxibustion Theory, and Acupuncture and Moxibustion Treatment
- Herbology, Formulae of TCM, and Treatment With Herbal Medicines
- Basic Theory of TCM, Diagnosis of TCM, Herbology, Formulae of TCM, and Treatment with Herbal Medicines
- Acupuncture and Moxibustion Theory, Acupuncture and Moxibustion Treatment, Herbology, Formulae of TCM, and Treatment With Herbal Medicines
- All of the Courses
Students access their courses and textbook material online. English-speaking tutors are assigned to guide students and answer questions. Students also have access to a student forum where they can discuss course material with other students and tutors.
Students are encouraged to attend a Chinese clinic to learn TCM techniques, such as finding acupuncture points, needle techniques and diagnostic procedures like feeling a patient’s pulse.
The first and second courses both take six months to complete and cost $295.00 each. The third option is a 12-month program and costs $395.00. The fourth course is nine months long and costs $345.00. The fifth and sixth courses both require 14 months to complete and cost $445.00 each. The seventh option gives students access to material from all the courses. It is a 20-month program that costs $525.00.
Students are given certifications by the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences upon completion of the online courses and after passing exams.