World Health Organaisation
WHO Acupuncture Education & Training
Current Education and Training
for TCM Practitioners
Before the topic of education and training is addressed, the MPP Group notes the importance of differentiatingbetween the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities’ (MTCU) authority to determine which educational institution may grant certificates, diplomas and degrees and a regulatory college’s power to set entry to practice requirements. While linked, the two are separate in their purpose. In
legislation (e.g. private institutions, out-of-province public institutions, and colleges offering applied degrees). The Ontario Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Act, 2002 also
governs colleges of applied arts and technology (for diplomas and certificates) and the Private Career Colleges Act (PCCA) also governs private career colleges (for diplomas and certificates). To date, no private career colleges offering TCM or acupuncture-related programs leading to a certificate or diploma are registered with MTCU under the PCCA. Similarly, no colleges of applied arts and technology have been granted consent to offer an applied degree or are approved by MTCU to offer a diploma/certificate in TCM or acupuncture. There are also no TCM-related programs provided by universities that have been approved for funding by MTCU. A health regulatory college’s power is related to setting entry to practice requirements. The objective of this power is to ensure that applicants meet requirements that will satisfy the college and the public that the applicant is able to practise safely and in accordance with the standards of practice of the profession. These requirements may include, but are not limited to, obtaining the appropriate level of education, successful completion of an entry exam, evidence of recent safe practice, fluency in English or French, and disclosure of misconduct and/or conviction of a criminal offence.
In HPRAC’s 2001 report, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, education requirements for entry to practice (completion of a post-secondary program by a recognized educational institute) was one of the nine criteria used to assess whether the profession of TCM should be regulated. While HPRAC acknowledged that a distinctive body of knowledge exists, at that time, HPRAC found that the TCM community was divided on the issue of the education requirement, especially the level and the number of hours of education and training for entry to practice. At the time of HPRAC’s review, some schools offered four-year full-time programs with over 3000 hours of instruction leading to a “Doctor of TCM diploma” while others offered two-year part-time programs with 600 hours of instruction leading to a “diploma in TCM”. HPRAC noted that it is difficult for students to differentiate between programs in terms of quality and even more difficult for consumers to determine the level of
competence of a practitioner. Based on the presentations and written documents that the MPP Group received, the situation remainsmuch the same in 2005. The MPP Group heard that there is a wide range of education and training programs. For example, some participants indicated that they provide a five-year training program for “Doctors of TCM” along with a shorter 1600-hour program for those that want to only practise acupuncture or herbalism.
Other participants indicated that there are TCM programs that have 1350 hours, further demonstrating that there is no consistency with respect to training programs in
In addition to differences in length, the MPP Group heard about the diversity that exists in the training curricula, including differences in approach to in-home study, distance learning, in-class theory, and clinical internship.
The MPP Group also heard from participants on what competencies a TCM practitioner should possess in TCM theory, TCM assessment and diagnosis, acupuncture, and herbology, as well as in general western sciences such as anatomy and physiology. Two universities that offer continuing education courses related to TCM and/or acupuncture also presented to the MPP Group. The MPP Group heard that other jurisdictions and international bodies have developed standards for TCM and acupuncture programs. The World Health Organization (WHO), for example, released guidelines in 1999 recommending minimum hours of training for acupuncture as well as core syllabi for acupuncture practitioners. The syllabi include high level competencies that practitioners should be familiar with, including TCM theory,
knowledge of acupuncture points, TCM diagnosis, and treatment principles and techniques.
Article posted – Arun Acupuncture Clinic Founder and the Chief Consultant -Dr.A.Ravindranathkennedy M.D(Acu), Singampunari, Sivagangai District, Tamilnadu State, India-630502. E-Mail. firstname.lastname@example.org