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How to choose a school to learn acupuncture & TCM

Embarking on a career in Chinese medicine is a big commitment of time and resources. At ACATCM we know that you have a number of schools to choose from, and strongly encourage you to do your research and due diligence. Looking at the websites of the various institutions you can see that the contents of the programs is quite similar – as it should be! Graduates from all of the approved institutions in Alberta should acquire the entry level competency and qualify to write the provincial registration exam.

Given the apparent similarities how do you find the school that is right for you? What follows are some of the questions you should ask prospective schools. If you’re not comfortable with the answers you receive you may want to keep looking.

How long has your school been in operation?

The simple answer is the longer the better! In operating an educational institution there are a lot of moving parts and it takes time to become efficient and to develop effective systems. There is enough to occupy you in learning the volume and complexity of material to practice Chinese medicine that you should not have to deal with hiccups in the administration and delivery of your education.

ACATCM was the first acupuncture and TCM school in Alberta and one of the oldest in Canada. We strive to make your experience as smooth as possible so that you can put your attention where it belongs – on learning Chinese medicine!

What affiliations does your school have?

Firstly, this reflects on the reputation of the school. Secondly affiliations provide students and alumni with additional options such as continuing education, access to research and opportunities to study abroad.

  • In 2018 the ACATCM was made the North American Base for the State Administration of Chinese Medicine. This is China’s central governing body of Chinese medicine. We were chosen for this honor among many North American schools because of the strength of our team and vision for the future.
  • ACATCM is SNAPTCM’s first accredited educational institution. SNAPTCM (Sino North American Partnership for Traditional Chinese Medicine) is a partnership between China’s Ministry of Technology and Ministry of Chinese Medicine, and Beijing Wanfang Data Ltd. with Canada’s ACATCM, the Huatuo Institute and the Huatuo Health Society. SNAPTCM’s mission is to increase the prominence of Chinese medicine in North America.
  • Partnered with Beijing University of Chinese Medicine. Beijing University is perhaps the most renowned University of Chinese medicine, and we are honored to be their only Canadian partner. Chinese Medicine Centre in Canada for Yunnan University of Chinese Medicine. One advantage of these connections is that nearly every year we offer guided 2 week study tours to one of our partnered schools in China. For those who want to study longer in China we can help to arrange programs and travel.
  • Partnership with Beijing Wanfang Data Ltd. which is the largest data base of research on all aspects of Chinese medicine. They have hundreds of thousands of documents with a growing number in English. Our students are provided complementary access to this service during their programs of study.

Can I observe a class and speak with current and past students?

When you apply for a job or to a school you are asked to provide references; it is only fair that a school reciprocate. It is important to get a sense of the ‘culture’ of the school that you are considering attending. After all, you will be spending three to four years with your instructors and fellow students in both classroom and clinic settings. Things to consider are class and clinic environment, teaching style and supervision in clinic.

ACATCM offers the majority of classes in Heritage Hall on SAIT’s campus. Aside from the award-winning architecture and views of the downtown skyline, it offers students easy access to transit and has amenities like private study areas and many food options.

Our main clinic location is a few minutes away from the SAIT campus in northwest Calgary. We have plans to open clinical centres in other quadrants of the city to provide affordable acupuncture and Chinese medicine services to those areas of the city and to add convenience for our students doing their internships.

I’ve heard that some of the schools in B.C. have closed down over the years. What assurances can you give about the viability of your institution?

This is an excellent question! The majority of the schools in Canada are private institutions unlike public Universities. The longevity of these enterprises is largely connected with how well the businesses are run and their corporate structure.

The ACATCM has big plans for the future and we hope you will ask us about them if you decide to interview us! We strive to keep improving our operation. We want to be an institution our alumni can be proud of.

In considering organizations for a North American base, the State Ministry for Chinese Medicine looked closely at the business models of prospective schools. They looked for depth of talent in the management team and faculty, and the length of time the school had been in operation, and many other factors. Being chosen for this honor is a testament to the strength of our organization.


© 2018 Alberta College of Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine.
1910 - 20 Ave NW, Main Floor #102
Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2M 1H5
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