Is becoming a veterinary acupuncturist right for me?

The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:

What do veterinary acupuncturists do?

Still unsure if becoming a veterinary acupuncturist is the right career path? to find out if this career is right for you. Perhaps you are well-suited to become a veterinary acupuncturist or another similar career!

Described by our users as being “shockingly accurate”, you might discover careers you haven’t thought of before.

How to become a Veterinary Acupuncturist

Becoming a veterinary acupuncturist involves specific education and training in veterinary acupuncture. Here are the general steps to pursue a career as a veterinary acupuncturist:

  • Complete a Bachelor's Degree: Obtain a bachelor's degree in a relevant field, such as biology, animal sciences, or a related discipline. Ensure that the coursework includes prerequisites for admission to veterinary school.
  • Attend Veterinary School: Enroll in and complete a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program at a veterinary school accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). This program typically takes four years and provides the foundational knowledge and skills required for veterinary practice.
  • Gain Clinical Experience: During veterinary school, gain clinical experience in various aspects of veterinary medicine, including traditional Western medicine practices. This experience is crucial for a well-rounded understanding of veterinary healthcare.
  • Obtain a Veterinary License: After completing veterinary school, obtain a veterinary license by passing the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE) or a state-specific licensing exam. Licensing requirements vary by state, so it's important to check the specific requirements of the state in which you plan to practice.
  • Pursue Additional Education in Acupuncture: To become a veterinary acupuncturist, pursue additional education and training specifically in veterinary acupuncture. This involves enrolling in a postgraduate acupuncture program that is accredited by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS) or another recognized institution.
  • Complete a Veterinary Acupuncture Program: Consider enrolling in a veterinary acupuncture program that meets the standards set by reputable organizations such as IVAS. These programs typically involve in-depth coursework, hands-on training, and clinical experience in acupuncture techniques tailored for animals.
  • Gain Practical Experience: As part of the acupuncture program, gain practical experience by treating animals under the supervision of experienced veterinary acupuncturists. This hands-on experience is essential for developing proficiency in acupuncture techniques.
  • Obtain Certification: After completing the veterinary acupuncture program, obtain certification in veterinary acupuncture. Certification is often awarded by organizations such as IVAS or the Chi Institute (see below).
  • Optional: Pursue Advanced Certification or Specialization: Some veterinary acupuncturists choose to pursue advanced certification or specialization in specific areas of acupuncture, such as equine acupuncture or exotic animal acupuncture. Advanced certifications may require additional training and clinical experience.
  • Integrate Acupuncture into Veterinary Practice: Once certified, integrate acupuncture into your veterinary practice. Collaborate with other veterinarians, offer acupuncture services to clients, and work towards building a client base interested in holistic veterinary care.

International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS) Certification
IVAS is a globally recognized organization that provides training and certification in veterinary acupuncture. To become certified by IVAS, veterinarians must complete an IVAS-approved acupuncture training program.

  • IVAS-Approved Acupuncture Training Program: Veterinarians interested in becoming certified in veterinary acupuncture should enroll in an IVAS-approved acupuncture training program. These programs typically include both didactic coursework and hands-on clinical experience in acupuncture techniques specific to animals.
  • Coursework and Clinical Experience: IVAS-approved programs cover acupuncture principles, meridian theory, acupuncture point locations, needling techniques, and clinical applications. The coursework is designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of veterinary acupuncture, and participants gain practical experience by treating animals under the supervision of experienced instructors.
  • Examinations: Upon completion of the training program, veterinarians must pass written and practical examinations administered by IVAS. The examinations assess their knowledge of acupuncture principles, ability to apply acupuncture techniques, and understanding of animal-specific acupuncture practices.
  • IVAS Certification: Successfully passing the IVAS examinations leads to certification as a veterinary acupuncturist. IVAS certification is widely recognized in the field and demonstrates that the veterinarian has met the organization's standards for competency in veterinary acupuncture.
  • Continuing Education: To maintain IVAS certification, veterinary acupuncturists are typically required to engage in ongoing continuing education in acupuncture. This ensures that practitioners stay informed about the latest developments, techniques, and research in the field of veterinary acupuncture.

Chi Institute Veterinary Acupuncture Certification Program
The Chi Institute provides a comprehensive Veterinary Acupuncture Certification Program that focuses on Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) principles, acupuncture techniques, and their application to various animal species.

  • TCVM Training: The Chi Institute's program covers the fundamentals of TCVM, including acupuncture, herbal medicine, food therapy, and Tui-na (Chinese massage). However, the certification specifically pertains to the acupuncture component of TCVM.
  • Didactic and Practical Training: Participants in the Chi Institute's program undergo a combination of didactic coursework and practical training. The curriculum includes lectures, hands-on labs, and clinical experience to ensure veterinarians gain both theoretical knowledge and practical skills in veterinary acupuncture.
  • Examinations: Veterinarians who complete the Chi Institute's acupuncture program are typically required to pass written and practical examinations. These assessments evaluate their understanding of TCVM principles, acupuncture point locations, needling techniques, and the application of acupuncture in various clinical cases.
  • Certification by the Chi Institute: Successfully completing the Chi Institute's Veterinary Acupuncture Certification Program and passing the required examinations leads to certification as a veterinary acupuncturist by the Chi Institute. This certification is recognized within the field and signifies that the veterinarian has met the institute's standards for competence in acupuncture.
  • Continuing Education: Like other veterinary acupuncture certifications, maintaining certification from the Chi Institute often involves ongoing continuing education. This ensures that practitioners stay updated on advancements in TCVM and acupuncture, fostering a commitment to lifelong learning.