As with any profession, the educational requirements have shifted over the years. Today acupuncturists need to not only know East Asian medicine, but a fair amount of Western medicine as well.

In this episode we go into the education required to become a Licensed Acupuncturist, the challenges students face while in school and what you can expect if you decide to go through the training and become a practitioner of East Asian medicine.


Show Highlights:
6:34 Changes in acupuncture education over the years.
12:41 The credentialing and licensing situation for acupuncturists.
19:07 Do you need a medical background to study acupuncture?
21:52 Some of the challenges westerners have with learning East Asian medicine.
32:38 What about other practitioners that do “acupuncture” but are not trained in Chinese medicine?
39:30 What are the challenges to getting started with the profession after graduating from acupuncture school?

Steve Given, DAOM, L.Ac. is the Academic Associate Dean at ACTCM at California Institute of Integral Studies. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Portland State University, a Master’s degree in Traditional Oriental Medicine from Emperor’s College and a doctorate in acupuncture and Oriental medicine from Bastyr University.

Dr. Given’s areas of clinical interest include HIV/AIDS, supportive care for cancer patients and addiction treatment. He is a licensed acupuncturist in California and Washington.

Over the past 25 years, he has held academic, clinical and administrative appointments at a number of institutions. Dr. Given has served as a site visit chair and past commissioner for the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. He has served as a subject matter expert for the Clean Needle Committee of the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, as well as a subject matter expert for the biomedical exam administered by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).

Research interests have included acupuncture for addiction treatment and neuropathic pain. His doctoral research was on the in vitro apoptotic activity of Chinese herbs on MCF-7 breast cancer cells. Steve is a peer reviewer for the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Integrative Medicine A Clinicians Journal and Meridians.

Prior to his acupuncture career, Dr. Given worked in the microbiology field as a lab supervisor and research technologist.




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