Does Acupuncture College Prepare You For Success?

February 10, 2009 by  
Filed under Acu Insighter Newsletter

Acupuncture College Graduate

Acupuncture College Graduate

When I graduated from acupuncture college in 2000 and started my practice, there were very few online resources available to help acupuncturists start their businesses. But even if there were a TON of resources, I would not have known to look for them.

I had a few classes on “Practice Management” and I listened intently to a successful acupuncturist give great information about how to get all the paperwork together to run a practice. I do not ever remember anyone suggesting writing a business plan. Maybe there was a recommendation, but if there was, I totally missed it!

Acupuncture college is overwhelming as it is, so when it was time to graduate I was not thinking about taking on a whole new career as a business entrepreneur. So I just kind of ‘fudged’ my way through and tried to do what I thought everyone else was doing. Since I didn’t know the difference between what was good or bad for building a business … I THOUGHT I was doing everything right!

And I am worried that you are out there trying to start your acupuncture practice thinking that you are doing everything right too.

Of course this is also complicated by the fact that you just want to focus on being an awesome healer instead of marketing your acupuncture business. I know… because that’s how I felt too. (In fact, this is MISTAKE #4 that I talk about in “10 Big Mistakes I Made Opening My Acupuncture Practice & What You Can Do To Avoid Them”.)

I do not want you to repeat the same mistakes I made, so please stay open-minded and look for information and resources to help you with your practice. If you are actively looking for help, start with your acupuncture school to see of they have any resources to help new graduates set up their businesses.

The Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM) started a Professional Development Center to meet the growing needs of acupuncturists starting out in business. This has been a tremendous resource for graduates. I have no doubt that OCOM’s commitment to helping students understand the practical aspects of acupuncture marketing will help new graduates build successful practices.

I am curious other acupuncture colleges? Do you feel like your school is preparing you to be a successful business entrepreneur? Are you ready to learn those skills? If your college offered serious training in starting a small business, would you eagerly attend them? Or are you too overwhelmed with learning herbs, acupuncture treatments, and all the other aspects of Chinese medicine?

Wherever you are in your training and mindset, I hope you know that it’s never too late to ask for help. Look at many of the online resources listed in the “Blogroll” on this site as well as the resources listed on those websites. We are here to help you succeed!

Best Regards,
Lisa Hanfileti, LAc

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Want more information about acupuncture business planning and marketing?

Download "10 Big Mistakes I Made Opening My Acupuncture Practice & What You Can Do To Avoid Them"

Read about how I attract customers and generate additional income with my acupuncture website in my book, and "Complementary & Alternative Marketing". It comes with 4 Bonus videos, 2 marketing ebooks, and my Acupuncture Business Plan.

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5 Responses to “Does Acupuncture College Prepare You For Success?”
  1. Alicia says:

    You rock! This is beautiful!! Keep up the amazing, outstanding, incredible job.


  2. Finbar says:

    Lisa, thanks for all of your efforts and the information and links you share with us. I am an acupuncture student in New York city and our school offers a rudimentary class on practice management, but it is far from adequate. I’m lucky enough to have a background in entrepreneurial business so I feel I have better tools than what my school offers, but I would jump at the opportunity to have some solid business training as part of the program. The problem, however, is in accreditation requirements and length of programs. The schools have so much that they must include in the curriculum that there doesn’t seem to be any room to add more business-centric classes. I’d like to hear your thoughts on how this information could be included in a program. My feeling is that most of us will figure out what we need by either stumbling through it or via sites like IFAB. Do you think a model of adjunctive education (i.e. through the institutions themselves) is appropriate or if there should be NCCAOM endorsed seminars set up targeted at business approaches for new graduates?

  3. Hello Finbar,

    Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I tend to agree with you that schools are stretched to the max just to get the required AOM classes into the curriculum. Business classes are really outside their area of expertise and the necessary business classes do not fulfill any of the requirements for degrees in AOM, which is what students are paying for.

    However, I do think that schools could be more proactive in directing graduates to qualified small business training programs. I would like to see the NCCAOM have more business programs (just for acupuncturists) that offer CEU’s so that there is some built-in incentive for acupuncturists to take business seminars and workshops.

    I also think that acupuncturists have to have more realistic expectations. Running a small business is hard work. Period.

    It may take people like YOU (!) who already have a background in entrepreneurial business to help develop programs for acupuncturists. I am committed to doing whatever I can. I think this is a problem we can solve with just some creativity, tenacity, and teamwork.


  4. Erik House says:

    As a soon to be acupuncture student I’m enjoying your site and your blog. I’m wanting to learning about starting a successful acupuncture clinic before I even get started, because the more one knows before one gets started the better. I hope to use your insights to help me as I move through my studies.
    Not only do I owe it to myself to become a success but since vocational rehab. will be helping me to pay for my education, I feel I have a greater responsibility to prove that those who go into alternative health fields can make a profit and are not just flighty “new age” people.

  5. Yael Ernst says:

    Hey Lisa,

    Great new look- I love it!

    I think you guys are very lucky to have the basic “how to”- we don’t even have that in Israel!
    That is- pardon me for being blunt- really dumb. I mean, the graduates are the best marketing tool for all schools, right? It is in their best interest (the schools that is) to educate their graduates how to open a clinic on a business level, not just give them more and more info about Chinese Medicine!
    *sigh* I have blogged about this and even e-mail several schools but never got an answer.

    You touched a very important point in CM and it seems like it’s a world-wide problem. Hopefully this too will soon be a thing of the past.

    You’re doing a wonderful job Lisa!

    Take care and thank you,

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