This is the only course in the BAAB accreditation process that takes a ‘fully blended ‘ approach to learning. We introduce most theoretical subjects on-line and support your learning using on-going forums and interactive tutor-time, which means that instead of simply sitting once through a lecture in class, then relying on handouts and your own scribbled notes when you get home, you are able to ‘attend’ the same lecture as many times as you like over the three year period. This is intensive teaching and learning, and each ‘lesson’ is specifically designed to take you through the subject in a logical and accessible manner, with forums and tutor input available whenever a question or a puzzle occurs to you. You don’t have to rely on being the loudest in class, or worry about missing a vital lecture due to ill health. Nor do you need to worry about identifying areas of confusion on the day or feeling foolish for asking questions repeatedly until you are clear about the answer. These are very high quality, interactive lessons, which you can ‘attend’ as often as you like, whenever you like. Our forums are friendly and accessible, and are there to support your learning with an unlimited amount of tutor input throughout the entirety of the course. Each and every question is welcomed, and as you learn, so do your friends and colleagues!!
Our use of e-learning means that we have a great deal of in-class time freed up for learning those vital practical skills, not to mention the fact that all those skills are accompanied by demonstrations on video which once again, you can access at any time throughout the course. There may be a strong focus on the ‘online’ aspects, but you will spend around 140 additional hours in class, over and above those of a comparable degree-level course, perfecting vital practical skills such as pulse taking and point location, as well as those all-important sensory skills such as the reading and interpretation of Colour, Sound, Odour and Emotion. This is a modern and innovative course, which utilises the very latest in learning technology to make teaching and learning supremely effective and accessible. You really do get a great deal for your money in terms of course structure, individual support, quality materials and innovation. ‘Teaching acupuncture online’? … we are offering you a great deal more than that!
Not only can you ‘attend’ lessons as often as you like, and ask as many questions as you like, but the reduced class attendance (other courses generally require two days each week at their main venue during term-time) means less loss of earnings, as you can likely structure studying around your current job. More importantly than that perhaps, is the possibility of spending more quality time with family and friends because you can structure learning in a way that suits you. Finally, depending on how far you might need to travel, you might also factor in savings on fuel and accommodation. We believe that our overall approach places us at the forefront of acupuncture education in the UK because it means that no-one is excluded from studying simply because they live too far from a teaching institution, or because they have a lot of work or family commitments.
We are often asked by prospective students, “Am I too old to do this?”, “I’ve never had anything to do with healthcare, can I do this course and do I need to study something first?”, “It’s ages since I’ve studied, will I be able to do it again?”, “What if I can’t remember stuff?”, “Do people manage this course with kids/work etc?” “Do people travel as far as I will need to, to attend the class weekends?”, “Do other students stay over in a B&B on class weekends?”, “Will there be other students living near me?” and “How can I pay for the course?” …. so, let’s clear all this up!!
The average age of our students is 42, with a range from 23 right up to 63 years old. They come from a wide range of backgrounds, most commonly teaching, IT, business, and other healthcare disciplines. But don’t worry, most have not come from a healthcare background, and this is not a problem because we teach you everything you need to know! Many students also haven’t studied for years or have never done a degree, and we are VERY used to supporting them in this situation; you’ll get help if required with assignment writing if you’ve never done a degree before, and we use assignments rather than exams, providing loads of memory tips for the very small amount of things you actually have to memorise.
Our students travel from all around the UK and even Europe, to attend class weekends. The average number of miles travelled to class is 61, while the greatest distance currently travelled is 266 miles. For this reason, most students stay over on class weekends (B&B suggestions can be found in ‘About Us’ – ‘Local Area’), and apparently, a jolly time is had by all (we don’t need to know the details!!) The majority of our students have children, and many have young children (though a supportive partner or family does help!). Most are working full time when they join us, although we recommend dropping to a maximum of four days per week if possible, which many do. By third year, you will certainly need one day free per week for your clinical work.
You may well find there are other TAA students near to you – all our students communicate on a private forum space, so you can discover who is nearby and arrange to meet up for practise sessions or maybe even to share lifts.
Finally, 20% of our students receive career development loans towards course fees; those that apply do usually get accepted but obviously as these are obtained through a bank, the usual lending standards will apply.
The next big distinction is our innovative clinical (third) year, which uses an ‘apprenticeship/ mentorship’ model. This means that wherever possible you would be treating patients, with full support and supervision from The Academy, at a clinic as near as possible to where you live. Attendance requirements at other institutions are usually weekly throughout third year, and so our model is much more accessible for distant learners and means that you would experience a more seamless and less stressful transition into independent clinical practice. It also means you can expect to graduate with a client base already in place.
Unique to our course is a provision for three further consultations with your clinical supervisor after you have graduated, paid for by The Academy. This means that during your first year in practice, when perhaps you are feeling less certain about your skills, you will have opportunities to get help with diagnosing difficult cases, with treatment planning, in fact with anything that you may be finding challenging. In line with our ethos of student and graduate support, our tutors will also be available to boost knowledge and confidence in those more vulnerable early years.
The most common styles practiced in the UK today are known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Five Element acupuncture (5EA). There is a common perception that these are very separate approaches and so courses in the UK tend to focus on one (TCM), or teach selected aspects of both in what is referred to as an integrated approach. At TAA however we believe that this is an artificial division and that we offer our students the very best of both worlds. Graduates will therefore have all of the skills that are needed in order to treat effectively using the five element model, as well as understanding TCM theory and incorporating that understanding where appropriate.
To us, teaching the five element approach means teaching it in relation to the classical theories of yin/yang, and organ and channel theories (the basis of all TCM practice), allowing for elegant and congruent diagnosis and treatment. However, accurate diagnosis at the level of the five elements can only be made through the use of sensory diagnostic skills which take time and application to develop. Our approach to teaching theory is therefore well supported by our emphasis on practical diagnostic skills and this emphasis brings theory to life, giving it meaning in practice.
Our experience of teaching on an acupuncture BA course highlighted the tension that exists between the box-ticking required by validating universities, and the focus and hours required to properly develop the diagnostic and clinical skills that are essential to confident and competent clinical practice. As a side-note, there are also fairly substantial fees payable to the validating university and these have to be passed directly on to students. In addition, acupuncture is both an art and a science, in equal measure. Therefore, we took the decision to keep full control of the way we deliver the course, taking us down the Honours degree level route, as opposed to partnering with a university to call the course a BA or BSc. ‘Licentiate’ might be an unfamiliar term but it is in fact the industry standard qualification that all practitioners who graduated prior to 2006 will hold. This includes the majority of members of the British Acupuncture Council and you will see ‘Lic.Ac., M.B.Ac.C.’ on the business cards of many, many acupuncturists, teachers and authors on the subject.; the term ‘licentiate’ is therefore familiar to us all…..
The educational level and time commitment of our course is equivalent to that of an undergraduate Honours degree, as required by the British Acupuncture Accreditation Board (BAAB), and is the level that is required for membership of the BAcC. We are simply freer to teach you what you really need to know, in a manner that is congruent and totally relevant to clinical practice.
We have chosen the Professional Licentiate qualification therefore as it best represents what we offer: a professional vocational training in a healthcare system that combines science, technical skill, and artistry.
It is worth repeating, in case you missed it earlier, that our classroom schedule includes a very high proportion of clinical skills hours, and our schedules are carefully balanced to ensure that practical teaching is at optimum levels. You will benefit from over 140 additional hours of in-class skills tuition than some other courses. Skills classes will focus on pulse taking, point location, anatomy (don’t panic!), clinical skills such as needling, working with patients, and those all important colour, sound, odour and emotion based diagnostic skills. This means that at the end of a long week you should find classes invigorating and motivating, and have no problems staying awake! Of course there is a lot of practice to do at home, and you will be given guidance and support in this too, including how to access local point location groups, and how best to practise your pulse taking and other skills (not needling!) on colleagues, friends and family.
Because of the Honours degree level status of the course, the total study hours required are the same as the hours needed for a degree. However you have probably gathered by now that you can carry out your e-learning and self study at times that will suit you. Overall, you should expect to be putting in around eighteen hours each week, studying at home and in your own time, although of course this is averaged out over the year and you will find times of greater and lesser activity. You will be advised about this during your first weekend with us, and your personal tutor is always on hand to offer suggestions, support, and to help you ‘work smart’.
You will find these if you look in the TAA Calendar, under the Students tab at the top of the page. Look for either the March or September first year group, depending on which you would like to join, and scroll through the calendar. By way of an example, the September first year intake in 2016 will be listed as S2016.1