Our students come from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds. Some are recent college graduates, others have decades of experience in practicing medicine, i.e. nurses, MDs or NDs, massage therapists, and others come from varied professional backgrounds and are interested in changing careers. One common theme is that many students have had personally transforming experiences with acupuncture, bodywork, and herbalism.
AIMC Berkeley’s collaborative and supportive community is made up of a diverse student population from a variety of cultural and professional background including Western medicine, bodywork, theology, retail, corporate management, the arts, and more. Ranging in age from 25 to 65, our students come from around the country and around the world. Their unique experiences inform our community and shape our college. We boast an active student body and student council, a variety of student-led groups, student initiatives, peer-tutoring, and more. Our students support each other, feed each other, take care of each other’s kids, share notes and arrange study groups, and hang out on weekends together. We don’t just go to school together, we’re a community!
Since COVID-19 began impacting the country, we transitioned our classes and even our clinic to a virtual model. Teachers have weekly professional development meetings to enhance their online teaching skills, and our students take advantage of extra-curricular virtual events the school and other students are hosting. With appropriate safety measures and following state and local health guidance, we are carefully planning a hybrid learning model where some hands-on learning takes place in small groups while didactic lessons continue to be taught in the comfort of our student’s homes.
With over 1,000 hours of clinical experience, AIMC Berkeley exceeds most other acupuncture schools in the country in providing you with the opportunities to learn and practice the medicine. Your clinic internship begins in the second trimester with a theater observation class and continues throughout the whole program, with opportunities to work in our acupuncture and integrative medicine clinic, herbal dispensary, and a with variety of patient populations at our off-site internship locations. This comprehensive clinic experience throughout the whole program reinforces your learning from your classes with real world experience.
Our goal as educators of the art and science of acupuncture & East Asian medicine is to produce successful practitioners that can network and collaborate with other types of providers, function effectively as primary health care providers, and become the future leaders of our profession. We are committed to a continuous process of assessment and improvement to provide the most complete education available for 21st century Acupuncture and Eastern Medicine practitioners. We teach a contemporary, integrative approach to a traditional medicine, and have first rate off-site internships at various hospitals, clinics, and medical facilities. Integrative Medicine is the foundation of our program.
AIMC Berkeley is uniquely rooted in traditional Japanese medicine, which is known for its gentleness, its usefulness in treating sensitive patients, including seniors and children, and its high quality, easy to use Kampo herbal remedies. Students have the opportunity to take Japanese Medicine elective courses at AIMC Berkeley to learn Japanese modalities and theories including abdominal diagnosis; moxibustion heat therapy; contact needling; and the use of intradermal needles for gentle facial rejuvenation acupuncture. Opportunities for deeper study of Japanese techniques with master practitioners are available as part of AIMC Berkeley’s continuing educations courses in the U.S. and abroad.
Our highly qualified faculty members are recruited for their depth of knowledge, the diversity of their skills, and their unique personal qualities. Our instructors are skilled practitioners who maintain successful practices and believe in the importance of disseminating their knowledge ans sustaining the rich tradition of our medicine. Our didactic faculty are committed to guiding students through the exciting and challenging world of East Asian medicine and teaching them to transform theoretical education into practical application. Our clinical supervisors are committed to instructing interns in diagnosis, methodology, prognosis, proper record-taking, and clinical judgment. All are dedicated professionals who generously share their knowledge to develop and refine our students’ abilities. Learn more about our faculty…
“I want to be an Acupuncturist because I want to follow a field of medicine most closely related to what I believe is nature. No artificial, chopped or mass produced pills. I have used pills and I have yet to be satisfied. I prefer natural ointments, foods & teas, exercise and family.”
“I believe that with my background & the amazing tools one learns in Oriental Medicine, I can be a more versatile professional & better prepared to help others in the healing process. I look forward to seeing & treating my patients as a whole, no longer a set of vital signs, symptoms & body parts.”
“Health has such an extensive influence on a person’s life, from personal relationships and professional achievement to attitude & self-esteem. I am forever grateful to my first acupuncturist for validating and treating my pain. She changed my life and gave me hope that I could feel good again. I am eager to do the same for others.”
“If there was more of an emphasis on preventing conditions and ailments there wouldn’t be such a need for synthetic stimulants and prescription drugs to help us in ways our bodies no longer can.”
“I want to follow a field of medicine most closely related to what I believe is nature. No artificial, chopped or mass produced pills. I have used pills and I have yet to be satisfied. I prefer natural ointments, foods & teas, exercise and family.”
Our alumni include Chris Kresser, globally recognized leader in the fields of ancestral health, Paleo nutrition, and functional and integrative medicine, as well as Haro Ogawa, Acupuncturist of the San Francisco Giants baseball team. Licensed Acupuncturists’ incomes vary greatly depending on their business model, the hours they work, their practice location, their specialization among other factors. For that reason, the average income statistics for acupuncture profession need to be reviewed with these differences in mind. In 2015, the California Acupuncture Board completed a comprehensive analysis of 485 acupuncturists practicing in the state, read their report here.
Our graduates are working in a variety of settings or pursuing further education:
Alumni report that they feel very well prepared for their profession. For example, 65% of alumni are working as practitioners compared to 50% of all acupuncturists. AIMC Berkeley grads are working as sole practitioners, as staff in private practices and in community Acupuncture clinics. They are working in Acupuncture schools and hospitals and pursuing doctorate degrees so they can teach or do research.
We take students from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds including nurses, MDs, massage therapists, lawyers, economists, teachers, and therapists.
A biomedicine or science background is not a prerequisite for starting the East Asian Medicine graduate program at AIMC Berkeley. Students can build a biomedicine foundation with classes in Chemistry, Physics and Biology or bring those co-requisites with them when they apply. These classes are preparation for the next level of courses which include Anatomy & Physiology and Pathophysiology as well as other bioscience classes. Applicants with previous academic biomedicine are awarded transfer credits, if eligible, and able to reduce their study load. They may also finish their studies sooner than the standard three years and two-thirds.
Please note: If you take science classes at AIMC Berkeley, they may be transferable to other East Asian Medicine colleges but they may not be transferable to colleges and universities such as UC Berkeley. So, if you are also planning to earn a degree in Health Sciences at non-East Asian Medicine college, consult your transfer credit concerns ahead of time with the college to which you are applying.
Classes take place Monday through Thursday, primarily during the day. Full-time students spend three to four days a week in classes and in clinic. For each hour in the classroom, students spend about two hours of homework. Special projects or research papers take additional time. (1 credit equals 50 minutes in class time per 15-week term). Students are also assigned homework for their 4-hour clinic shift. In clinic, which begins second term in Theater Observation, students can expect an hour to an hour and a half homework for every clinic shift.
To keep a good work-study balance as a full-time student we recommend to keep work commitment to about 20 hours a week, especially when you are a freshman. If you are a part-time student, you may be still able to keep your full-time work schedule. If you live within 30-to-45-minute commute to school, we recommend keeping your school and work commitment to maximum of 50 hours per week. If you need to spend more time to commute to and from the school, you should consider taking a lighter load.
The program lays out foundation for being a general health practitioner of East Asian Medicine only. However, the school offers students several specialized internship opportunities where students can learn and apply specialty treatment, i.e. orthopedics or prenatal care, etc.
Aspects of East Asian Medicine include: Acupuncture, Bodywork (Shiatsu/Tuina), traditional Chinese Herbology, Japanese Meridian Therapy, Traditional Chinese Medicine Nutrition, and Qi Gong.
Examples of treatment techniques include: traditional, shallow and contact needling, seven-star needling, cupping, direct and indirect moxibustion, shonishin, auricular acupuncture, e-stim, etc.
We see our student body as a community, not just a group of people who go to school together. During this period of social distancing and uncertainty, a strong sense of community and camaraderie is more important than ever. We have an active student council, as well as several student-led groups, student initiatives, and peer tutoring. Campus is currently closed to students and the public, but through our online learning and clinic format we have found that our community is still vibrant and connected.
While our programs are designed with a lot of in-person instruction and clinical, hands-on experience, we recently polled our students and found that they’re experiencing a lot of unexpected benefits from our current online format. Students report having more time to care for themselves and their families (or pets!) and making nourishing meals. One student said, “some classes almost feel like I’m getting private instruction since there isn’t a lot of external distraction.”
"One of my favorite things about AIMC is the sense of community. We come together to support each other through challenges. Instead of a sense of competitiveness between students, there is a caring community that lifts everybody up. The faculty and staff are approachable and provide wonderful support during your graduate journey."- Master’s Student