As I am entering my internship at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM) in less than a week, I began to think about why I chose OCOM over other schools that were options to me in the northwest. Once I decided that my career would be in alternative medicine, I realized that there were a lot of great schools in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia.

It came down to several reasons: First off, most of my family lives near the Portland area, and I wanted to be closer to them. Second, I hadn't lived in the States for almost three years, and it seemed like a good idea to try it again (though I still miss Korean health care). And last, but not least, OCOM offered a structured three-year program, had a great research department, and seemed to be a well known acupuncture school across the United States.

One Canadian school I had considered is the International College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. They have a great location in Vancouver, and there is another branch of the school in Victoria. Another Canadian acupuncture school is Pacific Rim College, which I recently discovered has a great online presence in a fantastic newsletter for students, prospective students, and the community.

In the the US, both Bastyr in Seattle, or NCNM (National College of Natural Medicine) in Portland were both possibilities for me. While they are both extremely good schools, I just felt the OCOM had the focus on Traditional Chinese Medicine in the way that I would be able to learn the medicine best. Also, the two of the founding members of OCOM are still teaching at the school, which says a lot to me.

If you are looking for a school to begin a career, or want to try acupuncture (usually at a reduced rate) and help a student learn, look here for a list of schools. There are so many great schools out there to meet individual needs.