An acupuncturist takes thin needles and places them under a patient's skin to promote energy circulation and yin yang balance, or Qi (chi). Only three Canadian provinces ask that students meet licensing requirements to work as an acupuncturist, but all provinces require some training in the field.
Learn what licensing bodies oversee the province you want to practice acupuncture in, and what requirements need fulfilling before working as an acupuncturist. The Acupuncture Foundation of Canada Institute lists the three provinces that require certification as of 2010 - British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec--along with links to more information. In all other Canadian provinces, people who lack certification but who have undertaken some professional training can perform acupuncture.
Plan for a minimum of 1,900 hours in three years of acupuncturist training for certification purposes, although each jurisdiction and educational program will have its own requirements. Course work will consist of training in anatomy, physiology, pathology, ethics, equipment safety and diagnostics. Some programs will also include specialized studies in herbology, Qigong, nutrition, acupressure, Chinese language, counseling skills and preventative medicine.
As of 2010, tuition for acupuncturist programs in Canada ranges from $6590 USD (Canadian Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine) to $10,272 USD (Academy of Classical Oriental Sciences) a year or more. Some programs may require that students purchase tools and supplies in addition to tuition fees. Eligible acupuncture education programs in Canada qualify for student-loan funding.
If the educational program chosen does not include a hands-on element, students must undertake a minimum of 500 hours or more of practical acupuncture work before provincial certification can take place. Some provinces, such as Alberta, require a safe/clean needle course as well.
Of the provinces that require acupuncturist licensing, both a written and practical examination is required in addition to the school's coursework. To take the exam, finish up the school's educational requirements before contacting your province's licensing branch to make an appointment, pay the exam fee, and receive the study materials.
Consult with a career counselor before undertaking any educational program.