There are no specific educational requirements involved in many countries, and acupuncturists are often health care providers in other fields, such as chiropractors. In countries like the U.S. and Canada however, registration as an acupuncturist means that an approved program of studies must be completed. In the U.S. practitioners must hold a degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine or the equivalent. In Canada at least 500 hours of acupuncture practice must also be completed.
There are a number of accredited colleges for acupuncture, including some that offer master's degrees. Certification differs from state to state. The primary focus of training is on use of acupuncture techniques, herbal medicine, massage and bodywork, nutrition, and energy exercises, but it also includes medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, western medical diagnostic testing, and herb-drug interactions. In the UK and Australia, the practice is also regulated by law, but actual requirements vary by location and state. In China and Japan there are training facilities dedicated to acupuncture.
A good acupuncturist likes observing people and is a thorough interviewer. Other personal characteristics needed are:
One of the most important questions you will face is where to look for the knowledge and practice you'll need to be what your patients need – a caring and competent doctor, fully versed in all aspects of TCM.