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Northern College of Acupuncture

FAQs

20 frequently asked questions about our acupuncture courses


We would like to give you a really good overview of what it is like to study acupuncture with us here at the Northern College of Acupuncture (NCA). So we have put together a series of 20 “frequently asked questions” (FAQs) asked by people considering a career as a fully qualified acupuncture practitioner.

We hope that this information will give you a good overview of our acupuncture degree courses. You can find even more information on studying acupuncture on our main website.

6. I already have an initial degree – what studying and funding options do I have?

Northern College of Acupuncture student Michael talks about why he decided on the MSc course and what he is enjoying about the course

Acupuncture student Michael talks about why he decided on the MSc course and what he is enjoying about the course

Many of our students choose acupuncture as a change in career and already have an undergraduate degree or professional qualification.  If this is the case you have two choices of course. One option is to choose to study on our MSc in Acupuncture. Having a postgraduate degree in acupuncture can open more opportunities for career progression, such as specialising, teaching or research. Your second option is to choose to study on our BSc in Acupuncture, which will gain you another undergraduate degree.

If you already have an undergraduate degree you will not be able to access another student loan.  Our students fund their courses in many varied ways including continuing to work, adding to their mortgage, using savings or taking out a career development loan.

Northern college of acupuncture, Kate Tattersall             Kate Tattersall-

“I already had an initial degree but I decided on the BSc option as gaining a practitioner training is the most important thing for me.”

 

 

 

 

7. What career can I expect as an acupuncturist and how much will I earn?

Northern College of Acupuncture graduate Caitlin Allen running her very busy full-time practice at a clinic in Leeds

Acupuncture graduate Caitlin Allen

talks about running her very busy full-time practice at a clinic in Leeds

You can expect a very varied, rewarding and flexible career in acupuncture. Once qualified, our graduates work in a variety of situations including setting up their own clinics, working within group practices or GP practices, working from home, or offering mobile services. Some of our graduates have established relationships with their local hospitals, NHS clinics and hospices. Another popular option for our graduates is setting up or working in a multi-bed clinic to provide lower cost acupuncture. 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. A full time acupuncturist can earn around £30,000-£40,000 per year.

Northern college of acupuncture, Charlotte Green             Charlotte Green -

“Two years after graduation I now have a busy acupuncture practice in Preston. I am building a diverse client-base and find the huge variety of patients one of the most interesting parts of my job.”

 

 

 

 

Acupuncture student Nicola talks about how she is fitting in the course with her life

Acupuncture student Nicola

talks about how she is fitting in the course with her life

8. How can I fit studies in with work and family commitments?

The majority of our students are doing exactly this, and most continue to work part time during their three years studying with us, whilst juggling family and other commitments. Our acupuncture courses start in October, and as well as choosing between the BSc and the MSc courses you can choose to study at weekends or on weekdays during term time. On the weekday option you will be in class for two half days every week during term time (apart from half term holidays.) On our weekend option you will be in class for two full days approximately every other weekend during term time (14 weekends in total over the year). Both options have a two week break for Christmas and Easter and a long break from classroom teaching over the summer. Part of the course is taught by e-learning – teaching sessions accessed from your home computer. Each of the compulsory e-learning sessions is available for 7 to 10 days for you to watch at a time that suits you. Our teaching clinic is open 6 days a week all year round apart from bank holidays, and you choose the days that are the best for you.   Home study can be totally fitted in around your commitments.

Northern college of acupuncture, Carole Cook             Carole Cook -

“I am fitting in the BSc in Acupuncture with my part time work and bringing up a young family.  I have a lot of juggling but it is manageable as long as I organise my time well. However, it is hugely rewarding and I am enjoying the course and feel excited about my new career.”

 

 

9. What assurances can you give me about the quality of your courses and College?

Northern College of Acupuncture student Caroline talks about why she is enjoying her studies and her plans once she has completed her training

Acupuncture student Caroline

talks about why she is enjoying her studies and her plans once she has completed her training

Established in 1988 the Northern College of Acupuncture is a registered educational charity and any profits we make go into improving what we do. We are governed by a Board of Directors who steer our strategy and ensure robust financial and strategic governance.  There are three levels of external assessment of the quality of our acupuncture courses by outside bodies:

•    We have validation with Middlesex University.
•    We have accreditation by the British Acupuncture Accreditation Board (BAAB)
•    We are quality assured by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA)

Our acupuncture courses also have an external examiner process involving quality assurance by academic staff from other Universities. In addition, student representatives from each of the courses sit on various committees in order to give us the student view.   

All this means that you can be totally assured that all our academic and clinical teaching is regularly checked and improved.  

Northern college of acupuncture, Richard Blackwell             Richard Blackwell – College Principal -

“We are constantly monitoring and improving what we do – especially taking notice of the feedback our students give us.”

 

 

 

 

Acupuncture student Kristen talks about the support she has had in the teaching clinic

Acupuncture student Kristen

talks about the support she has had in the teaching clinic.

10. How will you teach me to become an acupuncturist?

On our acupuncture degree courses we teach you in many different ways, reflecting the diverse nature of the subject of traditional Chinese acupuncture and using the most up to date teaching methods.  During your three years studying acupuncture you will build your abilities, confidence and self-awareness as a practitioner and as a whole person.

    • We teach you in the classroom - many of these sessions cover the practical aspects of becoming an acupuncturist - massage techniques, point location, pulse and tongue diagnosis and needle technique. Others teach you about traditional Chinese medicine and biomedicine. Other teaching sessions cover a wide variety of topics including personal and professional development, Chinese philosophy, and research.

    • We teach you by e-learning - throughout the course you will be engaging with regular e-learning sessions, some of which prepare you for the subjects that you are learning in class and clinic, and some of which are stand-alone sessions.  The e-learning is more than just watching slides on screen, it is an interactive experience and you will be able to ask your tutor questions and engage with your fellow students on the forums.

Northern College of Acupuncture student Katy talks about e-learning and how it works

Acupuncture student Katy

talks about e-learning and how it works

  • We teach you in our teaching clinic - you will be putting everything you learn in class into practice in our teaching clinic here at the College. Open Monday–Saturday all year round our teaching clinic is firmly at the heart of the College and your acupuncture training. All your classroom learning feeds into your clinical learning, and for the majority of our students this is their favourite part of the course.  A variety of highly qualified and dedicated clinical supervisors will guide you in your clinical practice, helping you to build your skills and confidence. In your third year you will be leading the patient consultations and treatment, getting ready to become an independent practitioner.  

  • You will be supporting your classroom and clinical work with home study - this could be working on your assignments, reading, or practising practical techniques or point location. The guideline we give is 2 hours of home study for each hour in class or clinic - but this very much depends on you and how you learn.

  • We teach you business skills - in order to help you set up your practice.

 

Northern college of acupuncture, Beth Mottershead             Beth Mottershead -

“Thank you to you all for creating such a special environment in which to study and develop. The NCA is so unique in all the best ways and I feel truly privileged to have studied here.”