In response to this [degree title designation] survey, I would like to request that the AAAOM Work on our financial burden in terms of student loan reform or political or legal action.
Those of us who have graduated since 2011 are concerned less about titles and more about the impact of our $200k or higher loans that are burdened with nearly 8% interest. (Survey us on this topic please!!)
If you want to help our profession, we need help on the finances. We overwhelmingly are not making high salaries like MDs but we have the loan burden of an MD.
I am concerned that if nothing changes, in a few years, many of us will have paid what we borrowed and the balance will be equal to that or more. This is not right. We want to work and pay our debt but we are not able to do it, for the most part. It is a huge emotional burden and financial burden. Maybe we have not defaulted, but we are watching our loans soon reach over the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Many of us feel our schools have misled us and were predatory. This problem will not go away unless we do something.
Please work on this. Our titles are minimal compared to what they don't let us do -- pay $3000-$4000 per month just to avoid interest raising the principle.
Thanks for your time and what you do for our profession.
I agree with Tanuja. There is a gross disparity between the actual income and the estimated 1st year income of an Acupuncturist/OM practitioner that has been advertised in school catalogs and on the "best acupuncture schools" websites. She is describing an genuine crisis in our profession.
While I feel our profession is being undercut by 'Technical Schools' that diminish our training and skill, such as places like POCA Tech, there are valid arguments in favor of such a model. See this article: https://www.pocacoop.com/prick-prod-provoke/post/dont-go-to-acupuncture-school
I see the options presented include 1) a "race to the bottom" / lowering our standards of practice and remuneration or 2) Make it increasingly possible for acupuncturists to earn a living income while providing a health care modality that is truly valuable and desperately needed in the United States.
I propose this be accomplished through stronger professional organizations, public awareness campaigns, collaborative lobbying of state and federal agencies, collective negotiating with insurance companies, and fundamentally working together.
Please survey our profession in these arenas.
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