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Acupuncture Continuing Education: Keeping Your Skills Fresh

If you are an a registered professional acupuncturist or currently in training to be one, it’s important to keep in mind that acupuncture continuing education is an important part of the practice and required to keep your credentials up to date and keep you providing top quality service to your patients.

Acupuncture Continuing Education: Keeping Your Skills FreshAside from making sure that you are on top of the latest developments in the profession, acupuncture continuing education is a requirement for keeping your license to practice from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, as well as in the state or states in which you practice – though regulations vary from one state to another.

When the time comes for you to undertake your acupuncture continuing education, there are some helpful tips that can both help enhance your experience and cut down the amount of time you spend in class and away from your practice.

Tips to Keep in Mind

There are two great things you can do. Firstly, take classes that you like. Get in touch with colleagues whose opinions you respect and ask for referrals to instructors. Take classes only with instructors you like and only study subjects that interest you and inspire your passion for practice.

Secondly, if cost is an issue, take steps to keep your spending on acupuncture continuing education down. The cost of continuing education courses can differ greatly, with some classes being very expensive and others less so. Examine what the courses offer, the expertise of the instructor then weigh that against the course fee. If they don’t add up, move on. Asking respected colleagues for their feedback on courses and instructors also helps when it comes time to determine the value for a course.

There is also the option to take some free or subsidized acupuncture continuing education courses offered by some herb and supplement companies, and these companies often offer discounts on their products to practitioners who take their courses.

If you have both a national and state license, another way to cut costs and reduce time spent on acupuncture continuing education is to find courses that offer crossover credits which apply to both licenses. A great place to find these courses is the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.

Conferences can also be a good way to get a lot of your acupuncture continuing education requirements out of the way in a short period of time and offer many opportunities for networking with colleagues and suppliers.

If traveling to conferences is a little too much for your budget at this point in time, there are a plethora of opportunities for acupuncture continuing education courses online.

Keep Track and Keep Up

It’s also important to keep on top of your acupuncture continuing education requirements so that you don’t fall behind. Be sure to keep track of the classes you’ve taken and have coming up – and have a system in place so you don’t forget to submit your paperwork on time to renew your license when the time comes.

Acupuncture continuing education requirements vary from state to state. For example, in California, licensed practitioners must complete a total of 115 hours of continuing education within their first two years of practice after their initial licensing in order to renew their license. And after that they must complete a total of 50 hours of continuing education for every license renewal period.  For re-certifcation under the NCCAOM, you will need to complete at least 60 Professional Development Activities (PDA) points within the four-year recertification cycle.

So keeping yourself up to date as a practitioner takes a lot of work, but undertaking acupuncture continuing education is not only necessary to meet the legal requirements for working on a state and national level but also for keeping your skills in line with the latest developments in the practice so you can provide your patients with the highest level of service and health benefits. You may spend time and money doing it but your practice will ultimately be better for having kept your training up to date. Your patients will appreciate it and recommend you to others, and your colleagues will recognize it and feel better about referring their patients to you.

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This article was written by Marianne Willis, who is fascinated by traditional chinese medicine, and had her acunpuncture continuing education to kep her skills up-to-date.

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