TCM Herbalist Program - 3yrs

The initial focus will be on the orientation into the paradigm of Chinese medicine. Following the introduction of fundamental theories and concepts, the student will gradually be introduced to diagnosis, disease and treatment principles. The practical training will be focused on Taiji Quan and Counselling Skills and the necessary aspects of clinical anatomy.

Delivery: On Campus
Length: 3 years
Credits: 168
Hours: 2520


TUITION $11,484.50 $12,153.50 $13,836.00 $37,474.00
Program Credits 51.5 54.5 62.0 168.0
Program Hours 772.5 817.5 930.0 2,520.0
Clinical Placement Hours 30 255 285.0

TCM HERBALIST PROGRAM - International Fees

TUITION $13,750.50 $14,551.50 $16,554.00 $44,856.00
Program Credits 51.5 54.5 62.0 168.0
Program Hours 772.5 817.5 930.0 2,520.0
Clinical Placement Hours 30 255 285.0

Upon successful completion of this program, students will be able to:

With awareness of natural and holistic medicine growing, the Traditional Chinese Medicine Herbalist program is designed to meet the needs of health care professionals who wish to broaden their knowledge in order to increase their clientele, and individuals who are completely new to the field, but have a genuine interest in Traditional Chinese Medicine herbs.

Students learn about Chinese herbs, Qi Gong, Tai Ji, anatomy, the basics of biomedical sciences, and more. To put their knowledge to use, students also gain valuable supervised clinical experience as part of the program.

Year One

The focus of Year 1 will be on the orientation into the paradigm of Chinese medicine. Following the introduction of fundamental theories and concepts, the student will gradually be introduced to diagnosis, disease and treatment principles. The practical training will be focused on Taiji Quan and Counselling Skills and the necessary aspects of clinical anatomy. The study of the Chinese language is used to develop a deeper understanding of the fundamental concepts and to prepare the student for independent research of TCM manuscripts, still in their language of origin, as well as preparation for possible further studies in China for those students who choose to do so.

Year 1 of the program is a particularly significant phase of the program in that students from diverse backgrounds and with diverse levels of knowledge will establish in themselves, not only the actual detailed knowledge of TCM, but also a solid conceptualization of the medicine as a whole. In general, this involves a transition from the romantic view of TCM to the realism of medicine as a science in its own right. With the study of western science initiated in tandem with that of TCM, students will begin to foster the integrated medicine approach advocated within the TCM profession today.

Year 1

Term 1

Course Title Credits
ACU102 Chinese Acupuncture I – Meridians 4
BMS197 Western Anatomy & Physiology I 4.5
CS109 Medical Mandarin I 3
CS157 Communications/Ethics/Body Landmarks 1.5
PC106 Taiji Quan 2
TCM101 Foundations of TCM 7
TCM103 Chinese Nutrition – Nourishing Life Principles 3
TCM104 Introduction to Chinese Herbology 1
Total Credits, Year 1 Term 1 26

Year 1

Term 2

Course Title Credits
ACU161 Chinese Acupuncture II – Acupoints 7
ACU164 Acupuncture Lab I 2
BMS198 Western Anatomy & Physiology II 4.5
CS159 Medical Mandarin II 3
CS167 Communication Skills I 2
TCM151 Diagnostics of TCM 7
Total Credits, Year 1 Term 2 25.5

Year One Total Credits 51.5
Year One Total Hours 772.5

Year Two

The focus of the second year is to introduce the more technical elements of Chinese medicine, including Chinese medicinal substances and Chinese medicinal formulas. Students will continue their study of Counselling Skills and begin their study of Qi Gong (understanding and training qi). In this year, students will be introduced to the classical view of mental and emotional disharmony patterns and their absolute importance to a wide variety of illnesses. The study of business management and ethics will assist students in developing the professional skills and attitudes necessary for independent practice.

If the study of the foundations of TCM in Year 1 is likened to the roots, trunk and main branches of a tree, then study in Year 2 may be likened to the small branches and leaves. Students will assimilate a vast amount of detailed knowledge in the relevant fields of TCM. This knowledge is often experienced as somewhat overwhelming at the time; however, it will serve as the “fuel for the fire” as it is constantly reexamined during the integration phase in the following years of study.

Year 2

Term 3

Course Title Credits
BMS200 Musculoskeletal Anatomy Review & Lab 3
BMS297 Western Pathology I 2
CP225 Clinical Observation I 1
CS205 Interview Skills 3
CS417 Professional Ethics II 2
CS227 Professional Relationships 0.5
PD403 Business Management 3
PD404 Jurisprudence 1
PC208 Dao Yin 2
TCM203 Chinese Herbology 8
TCM204 Chinese Medicine History 2
TCM256 Tui Na Therapeutics 3
TCM292 Psychiatry of TCM I 2
Total Credits, Year 2 Term 3 32.5

Year 2

Term 4

Course Title Credits
BMS287 Microbiology & Immunology 2
BMS298 Western Pathology II 2
BMS299 Orthopedic Pathology 3
CP255H Clinical Observation II - TCMH 3
CP220 Tui Na Clinic I 2
CS267 Communication Skills II 2
PD307 Research Skills & Paper Preparation 1
TCM253 Chinese Herbal Formulas 7
Total Credits, Year 2 Term 4 22
Year Total Credits 54.5
Year Total Hours 817.5

Year Three

The focus in this final year is to systematically examine all patterns of disharmony and their manifestations as illness. This study encompasses etiology, symptomatology, differential diagnosis, principles of treatment, and appropriate therapy. All therapeutic methods in terms of medicinal formulas, Tui Na massage and Qi Gong will be discussed. This year draws heavily on the previous years’ materials.

Year 3 is the integration phase of the program. Students will re-examine all previously learned knowledge and develop the ability to integrate this knowledge into a coherent understanding of disease and its treatment. At KCCIHS, all students will develop the ability to accurately formulate a TCM differential diagnosis, which we consider to be paramount to all other skills. Effective treatment is the natural progression of an accurate diagnosis.

Year 3

Term 5

Course Title Credits
BMS397 Western Pathology III 2
BMS427 Western Pharmacology 4
CP305H Clinical Observation III - TCMH 3
CP320 Tui Na Clinic II 2
PC308 Nei Gong 2
TCM302 Chinese Patent Formulas 2
TCM303 Chinese Herbal Therapeutics: Internal Medicine 8
TCM323 Chinese Herbal Therapeutics: Pediatrics 2
Total Credits, Year 3 Term 5 25

Year 3

Term 6

Course Title Credits
BMS347 Western Diagnostics & Lab Tests 2
BMS398 Western Pathology IV 3
CP355H Clinical Observation IV - TCMH 3
TCM352 Chinese Herbal Therapeutics: External Medicine 4
TCM353 Chinese Herbal Therapeutics: Gynecology 5
TCM354 TCM Case Studies I 1
Total Credits, Year 3 Term 6 18

Year 3

Term 7

Course Title Credits
CP375 Clinical Practicum Placement – TCMH 15
PD451H Research Paper - TCMH 4
Total Credits, Year 4 Term 7 19

Year Total Credits 62
Year Total Hours 930
Total Program Credits 168
Total Program Hours 2520

This program has been approved by the Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB) of the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills & Training.

Kootenay Columbia College of Integrative Health Sciences (KCCIHS) admits applicants who demonstrate commitment, preparation and a strong desire to enter the field of traditional Chinese medicine. As well, candidates are evaluated for emotional maturity and evidence of commitment to self-development, these being necessary requirements to safely and professionally practice Chinese medicine.

The applicants are provided with accurate information and guided to ensure they make informed decisions about their program of study.  The admission criteria are well publicized and applied consistently.  Admission requirements ensure students have the required language competencies (see Language Proficiency Assessment Policy), and the basic knowledge, skills and abilities to achieve program outcomes.

Admission Prerequisites:

  1. Grade 12 graduation or equivalent (BC High School Diploma, BC Adult Graduation Diploma, General Education Development- GEC, or an equivalent secondary school completion from another jurisdiction).
  2. A sincere interest in Chinese medicine and the healing arts.
  3. Proficiency in oral and written English to the Grade 12 level. Students who have English as a second language may be required to provide evidence of proficiency in English.
  4. Financial resources to complete the program.

The CTCMA requires successful completion of not less than two (2) years of liberal arts or sciences study (comprising at least 60 credits) in an accredited college or chartered/approved university acceptable to the registration committee to write the licensing exams in British Columbia.

Admission Requirements:

  • a completed application form completed online, or downloaded 
  • Up-to-date resume
  • Personal essay (about 1,000 words)
  • Complete official transcripts of secondary and post-secondary education sent directly to us from all institutes attended
  • Relevant non-formal education documentation
  • Physician’s certificate of health (Western, Chinese or Naturopathic physician);  a general statement of your current stay of physical and mental health; severe allergies must be mentioned in it
  • Two letters of recommendation (sent directly to KCCIHS)
  • Application fee of $100.00 CDN (non-refundable) payable to KCCIHS.  Out of country applicants should submit the application fee in form of money order in Canadian Funds.  In case you have difficulty obtaining Canadian funds please contact KCCIHS.

The Application Committee may request a personal or telephone/ skype interview with any applicant.

Admission requirements cannot be waived by either the student or the school.

Downloaded applications should be sent to:

The Registrar, Kootenay Columbia College

Suite 2 – 560 Baker Street, Nelson, B.C., Canada V1L 4H9

Call Toll Free: 1-888-333-8868

Local: 250-352-5887

Fax: 250-352-3458


Upon successful completion of this program, a TCM Herbalist:

  • Is qualified to write the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of British Columbia registration exams and exams in many other jurisdictions.
  • Once registered, a TCM Herbalist is authorized in BC to prescribe, compound or dispense Chinese herbal formulae (Zhong Yao Chu Fang) and Chinese food cure recipes (Shi Liao).
  • Can find employment in Chinese medicine and acupuncture clinics, spas, health retreats, wellness clinics, alternative therapy clinics, healing centres, and private practice, and Chinese herb supply companies.
  1. What tradition of Chinese medicine is taught at the school?

There are many traditions of Chinese medicine and different approaches to mastering the art. There’s Japanese acupuncture, Traditional Chinese medicine, the 5 Element school of thought, Oriental Medicine acupuncture, facial or cosmetic acupuncture, medical acupuncture, etc. Do a little research on the kind of acupuncture you wish to learn as they are not all the same.

The Chinese medicine program at KCCIHS re-integrates traditional Chinese medicine as taught in the People’s Republic with a pre-cultural revolution, 400 year-old family tradition. The courses meet and exceed the minimum requirements for the North American standard of education in the field of Chinese medicine, particularly in the areas of CM classics, history and self- cultivation.The programs at our school include the acquisition of the Chinese language, which deepens the ability for students to understand and research Chinese medicine in its original world view.

  1. What kind of Program are you interested in?

Do you wish to start a practice and see clients once you are trained? Do you want to add additional tools to other healing work you are already doing? Or, do you want to learn about Chinese medicine for your own health?

There are programs at various acupuncture schools to suit all interests. There are three, four and five year programs training Chinese medicine professionals. There are weekend courses for doctors and nurses or physiotherapists who wish to add acupuncture to their existing practice. And there are seminars, workshops and websites for those people just wanting to learn a bit about acupuncture or Chinese medicine for their own knowledge.

At KCCIHS we offer a three-year acupuncture program, a three-year herbology program, a four-year practitioner of Chinese medicine program (including acupuncture and herbal medicine) as well as a five-year Doctor of traditional Chinese medicine program. See the course descriptions for more information

  1. What is the language of instruction?

There are Chinese medicine schools all over the world teaching in virtually every language. Being a science of the Orient, many of the ancient writings about acupuncture are in the Mandarin language and Chinese characters.

At KCCIHS, our students are taught in English and also learn Mandarin relevant to Chinese medicine. This language component is taken in the first year of study, and many teacher’s notes and instructions are provided in both languages throughout the course. KCCIHS is one of only a few acupuncture schools in North America to offer this exposure to the Mandarin language and we feel it deepens each student’s understanding of the origins of Chinese medicine.

  1. Who are the teachers?

The instructors at the school you choose to attend will make all the difference. Choose a school that has instructors who have worked in the field, see clients in a clinic setting, and can comment on the practice of acupuncture. Many people may understand Chinese medicine theory but the art and skill that comes from seeing clients daily in a clinic setting cannot be learned from a book. Choose a school that has instructors who are experts in their field and who have real life experience in the courses they are teaching.

KCCIHS is fortunate to have many high level instructors, from both Chinese medicine and biomedical backgrounds, including TCM practitioners, chiropractors, counsellors and Qi Gong masters. Each instructor is an expert in their field and most currently practice their profession alongside their teaching schedule. Some of our instructors teach in the mornings and then see clients in the busy KCCIHS outpatient clinic in the afternoons, where students are able to observe and learn about subjects discussed in the classroom.

  1. How much does the program cost?

Program costs are variable, depending on your course of interest. Financial information can be found here, and further information can be provided by contacting our registrar directly

  1. What kind of learning do you do best?

It’s important to know what kind of learner you are and in what kind of environment you learn the best. Do you prefer to work at home, from books or online? Do you prefer to be in a classroom, guided by an expert teacher and joined by classmates? Do you prefer to go to school at night and on weekends so you can still work during the day?

KCCIHS offers on-site instruction across three campuses with experienced instructors and small class sizes. There are components of your training that can be done online or through self-study but the majority of our programs are delivered in-person, on campus, with teachers to answer your questions and classmates to study along with. The nature of learning a healing art like Chinese medicine requires a teacher on hand to guide a student.

At KCCIHS, there are class lectures, classroom clinics, needling labs and time spent in clinical observation. This experiential and hands-on learning environment sets up our graduates to go into clinical practice with the experience and knowledge to treat clients effectively.

  1. What kind of learning environment do you desire?

Just as it is important to know what kind of learner you are, it is also important to know what kind of learning environment you do best in. Do you prefer small classes, quiet study areas and green space to relax in? Or, do you prefer group learning, music and social interactions, games and challenges to help you remember information?

The campus offers different environments for study to suit the needs of our students. There is a school library for quiet study, a student lounge for more lively discussions over lunch, spacious classrooms for you to stretch out and make yourself at home in, a school bookstore and herbal dispensary for on-campus purchases, and a plethora of restaurants, healthy food options and quaint coffee shops nearby for refuelling.

Our classes are small, allowing you complete access to your instructors with your concerns and questions. If you ever find yourself in Nelson come take a tour of the school campus.

  1. When do I start needling and working with patients?

Students studying acupuncture are always very keen to begin to practice needling and see clients in the clinic. Clinical experience starts in observation and through learning fundamentals. As the course progresses each student’s skills develop as techniques are perfected.

When you are on hormone replacement therapy, it’s crucial to take the medications on time. I take Synthroid to replace the lacking thyroid hormone. Sometimes I forget to buy the pills in advance, so I order them on  This pharmacy offers overnight delivery to different parts of the country. I always get my pills when I need them.

Our students are welcome to begin practicing their needle technique on paper towel rolls or oranges in their first semester at school, in the second year they are guided through needling lab, and in the third year they begin to practice on members of the public, under supervision. This progressive course provides a solid foundation of point location and needling skills.

  1. Where is the school located?

KCCIHS is located in Nelson, in the Kootenay mountain-range in the southeast corner of the province of British Columbia in Canada. Nelson is a beautiful heritage town on the banks of the Kootenay River, and is known for its laid-back lifestyle, abundance of natural beauty, proximity to world class skiing, biking, hiking and fishing, alternative lifestyles, art, music and health food.

Many famous, expert, expat, interesting and unlikely people make Nelson their home. This makes for a very interesting, colorful and accepting community.

By car, Nelson is three hours from Spokane, WA, eight hours from Vancouver, BC, four hours from Kelowna, BC and six hours from Calgary, Alberta.

  1. What is required in your home country, state or province to practice Chinese medicine after graduation?

There are different requirements for licensing of acupuncturists in every country, state and province. Please research the rules in the area in which you wish to practice upon graduation.

In British Columbia, graduates of acupuncture schools must write and pass licensing exams overseen by the CTCMA of BC. Students wishing to practice acupuncture in the U.S. should check with the NCCAOM about licensing requirements.

The Chinese medicine program at KCCIHS has graduates working in many different countries around the world, in several U.S. states and in all provinces of Canada. Education at KCCIHS will set you up to work anywhere in the world you wish.