With the growing popularity of complementary medicine, it can be confusing and frustrating to know what to look for when considering alternative treatment options. Health care professionals must complete a lengthy education process to become certified in their area of expertise, but they also have the option of taking courses to complement their practice. For example a physiotherapist may take a course to become certified in acupuncture with 60 hours of clinical training. This may sound like a lot of time, but it’s relatively small in comparison to the average 448 – 1380+ clinical hours required by a registered acupuncturist.

 

Clinical Hours

Classroom Learning

Online Learning

Registered Acupuncturist

448 – 1380+

YES

NO

Naturopathic Doctor

75

YES

NO

Physiotherapist, Chiropractor, Medical Doctor, Registered Nurse

64

NO

YES

These numbers correspond to hands-on acupuncture training only and do not account for any post secondary education or additional acupuncture training that can be acquired. The total classroom hours have been omitted. It would not give a proper representation of the material covered in each health profession because all of the health professions listed above have extensive education in western medicine.

Registered Acupuncturist

A registered acupuncturist or R.Ac., has the most training in acupuncture compared to all other health professions. They are required to complete a minimum training of 3 years, but many have completed a 4 or 5 year program, therefore the number of hours varies in the table above based on the amount of training.

Naturopathic Doctor

The acupuncture training for naturopathic doctors is similar to that of a registered acupuncturist, just not quite as intensive. They still cover all the traditional theory and learn various needling techniques.

Physiotherapist, Chiropractor, Medical Doctor, Registered Nurse

This list of health professionals can take a course provided by the Acupuncture Foundation of Canada Institute (AFCI). This course consists of 70 hours online and 64 practicum hours. After completing this course these health professionals can then practice acupuncture. They are also eligible to take other acupuncture courses to further their education after successful completion of the AFCI course.

Treating An Injury

Next time you are using acupuncture to treat an injury, you will have a better understanding about the different health professionals who are using acupuncture in their practice. If you had a negative experience the first time, you may need to keep looking for the health professional that’s right for you.