Becoming an acupuncturist
Earn a living in a way that engages you as a whole person and is true to your own values.
As an acupuncturist you will work with people to ease their physical, emotional and mental suffering and make a real difference to their lives. You will find that treating people holistically can catalyse profound change for themselves and their families. At the same time, you can earn a living in a way that engages you as a whole person and is true to your own values, and have a vocation to be passionate about. By rooting your practice in the traditions and modern developments of Chinese medicine you will have access to:
A holistic and sophisticated understanding of the fundamental patterns underlying health and disease.
A philosophy of interconnectedness which sees each person as a part of the wider world.
An emphasis on developing the personal qualities of a practitioner.
A rich and flexible approach to diagnosis and treatment.
What does acupuncture do?
Chinese Medicine Tutor Cheng Hao Zhou
“In Chinese medicine, health is seen as a state of harmony and balance. To maintain this we need physical and emotional flexibility, the ability to move with the flow of life. If we lose this flow, our inner vitality becomes obstructed or depleted and we become ill. Acupuncture works to strengthen vitality and unravel the obstructions which cause ill health. As a practitioner it is possible to diagnose subtle imbalances to either treat or prevent disease, and to make sense of illnesses that conventional medicine often has difficulty treating. Acupuncturists use a range of highly effective and deep-acting treatment techniques, including acupuncture, massage, cupping and moxibustion, that relieve symptoms and treat their underlying causes, strengthen resistance to disease and enhance well-being. Also, as balance is restored there is often a sense of “coming back to oneself”, with the recovery of a sense of purpose. Acupuncture can be effective for a wide range of conditions.”
What styles of acupuncture do you teach?
College Principal Richard Blackwell
“At the Northern College we don’t teach just one style or approach to Chinese medicine, we celebrate its complexity and diversity. We teach you the structured approach to Chinese medicine which is taught at colleges in China and reflected in much of the literature you will read. Our graduates really appreciate this when they start to practise. We also teach you further traditional models and modern techniques to equip you with a variety of approaches to diagnosis and treatment. This allows you to develop your own style and select the approach best suited to an individual patient, rather than focusing exclusively on one style of acupuncture. Our acupuncture course stimulates your development in many ways. You will experience many new perceptions, thoughts and feelings. It is hardly surprising that at the end of our course students tell us how much they have changed and how positive that has been.“
Can I earn a living once I am qualified?
Course Director Lara McClure
“All of your training at the NCA is working towards one goal – the day you successfully complete your studies and start your career as a fully trained acupuncturist. As well as all the practical and theoretical training our acupuncture courses include teaching on business development. During your final year you will create your own business plan which enables you to have a clear direction for your practice once you have finished your studies. You also learn from the experiences of other acupuncturists during your practitioner observation days in years one and two. Once qualified, our graduates work in a variety of situations including setting up their own clinics, working within group practices, GP practices, or from home, or offering mobile services. Some of our graduates have established relationships with their local hospitals, NHS clinics and hospices. Graduates who set up on their own and who actively work at building their practices with commitment and determination can be busy within six to twelve months. More typically, most people establish a good steady practice within two years. After a few years, most practices are sustained simply by word-of-mouth recommendations from satisfied patients. Once your practice becomes well established you can earn a good living.”
Our graduating students
"I have set up in a multi-disciplined practice working alongside physiotherapists, personal trainers and massage therapists. The benefits are that the business is established and so patients are walking in all the time, also building a relationship with the other practitioners means we can work together and refer patients. My plans for the future are to work with a local holistic centre that will offer patients suffering from cancer a place to go and experience other therapies together with conventional cancer treatment. The centre will offer acupuncture, homeopathy, yoga, nutritional advice and many other therapies. I feel honoured to be able to work with this project as it really embraces the whole person approach which mirrors my Chinese medicine training at the NCA."
"Business is going really well up here in Newcastle and I am coming up to my three year anniversary from graduating. I'm working full time five days a week and I’ve also set up a clinic of my own with another practitioner. I could not be happier with what the course has done for me - thank you!"
"Since graduating from the NCA, I have been lucky enough to become an associate of an established, busy local practitioner. Taking the appointments that she can’t fit in, alongside building my own patient list, is helping me to expand my knowledge base extremely quickly. Also having an experienced practitioner to discuss things with is very reassuring. I’ve recently completed a post-graduate CPD course in Facial Enhancement Acupuncture and am in the process of setting up space in another local clinic to provide that as a stand-alone service. I have a personal interest in the use of acupuncture for athletic enhancement and the comprehensive Research Stream at the NCA has inspired me to attempt some research within my local Crossfit Box - should I find I have any spare time! Coming to the NCA has quite literally changed my life and I feel very grateful to be setting forth on such an amazing career path."
"I started my practice very soon after graduating from the NCA, I work from Neal’s Yard Remedies in York which is a respected and holistic business which fits perfectly with my practice. I also practise in the NCA graduate clinic on a Friday evening. I have a keen interest in the treatment of musculo-skeletal issues and use a lot of channel based acupuncture and massage, I also aim to train in Tui Na massage and do the herbs course at the NCA to further my knowledge and growth. I am slowly and steadily working on my business and seeing it grow week by week as my patient numbers increase. There is much joy in learning and practising TCM as there is always growth and learning, I feel positive for the future and I am thankful to the NCA for the firm foundations they have given me."