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The Tutorial Program (Business and Professions Code, section 4940, 4941, 4971; Regulations Sections 1399.420 – 432) is similar to an apprenticeship using the ancient method of a tutor passing on his or her understanding of oriental medical practice. It is a patient-centered study of medicine where the student learns in an intensive, hands-on format.
The tutor acts as a guide towards helping the student "integrate and organize [the understanding of medicine] through experience and use with patient problems, employing the cognitive skill of the clinical reasoning process." In this way, the teacher not only passes on to the student their unique personal point of view in clinical practice, but also gives the student another source. The tutor's commitment is to helping the student learn in a way that is best suited to the student as an individual.
The tutorial program provides access to higher education for many people who, for many reasons, of which a few are identified below, are not able to attend school.
- Students who cannot afford the high tuition of an acupuncture school. Tutorial programs are typically less expensive.
- Students who need to work for a living and cannot fit into a school's rigid class schedules. Tutorial programs can work with more flexible schedules.
- Students who do not live geographically close to a school. Qualified prospective tutors are located throughout the state.