Higher Education, Redefined

By Amanda Purser

Most locals know of the expansive presence of the University of Florida and its undergraduate and graduate programs, but many do not know of other local education options. Here are four schools that call Gainesville home.

Academy for Five Element Acupuncture
Tucked away among the downtown streets on 2nd Ave, an institution combines art with science, needles with channels, and “qi” with energy flows. For 25 years, Academy for Five Element Acupuncture has been training students in a form of higher education that might be familiar to many people. Acupuncture is the complementary medicine practice of inserting needles into certain acupuncture points on the skin to stimulate the body’s natural energy flow and alleviate certain conditions.

Students must have earned a bachelor’s degree prior to admittance, and once accepted, they complete a three-year program that results in a Master of Acupuncture Degree as well as the potential for a Certification in Chinese Herbal Studies. The Academy is one of the few accredited schools in the country with a dedicated Five Element-based curriculum, and it prepares students to sit for the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine’s national examination.

The Academy also operates a teaching clinic where members of the public can come and receive treatment from student practitioners in their final stages of training.

Tuition for the Master of Acupuncture program is $42,000, and the tuition for the Chinese Herbal Studies Program is $10,000. Financial aid is available from the Federal Stafford Loan, the Federal Graduate PLUS loan and Veterans’ Educational Benefits.

For more information on admissions, contact Academy for Five Element Acupuncture at 352-335-2332 or visit www.acupuncturist.edu.

Florida School of Massage
Florida School of Massage is approaching their 40th anniversary of providing education and massage services to the Gainesville community. Most recognizable for their “hands” sign on Highway 441 just before Payne’s Prairie, the Florida School of Massage offers students education in the art and science of massage therapy, the general term for the pressing, rubbing and manipulation of the skin, muscles, ligaments and tendons.

Students are not required to have completed any college courses before admittance, which makes this a good program for high school graduates or adults looking for a career change. As a six-month program, students complete the 670-hour Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA) schedule in 26 weeks, attending class Monday through Friday from 8am to 2:30pm.

The Florida School of Massage has two on-site clinics: a professional clinic that employs licensed massage therapists and a student clinic that is provided as a learning environment for its students to experience providing massage therapy to a the public at a reduced cost in a supervised, semi-private setting.

The Florida School of Massage is accredited by the COMTA and is qualified to participate in the Title IV Federal Financial Aid programs for the $9,900 cost of tuition.

For more information, contact Florida School of Massage at 352-378-7891 or visit their website at www.floridaschoolofmassage.com.

Florida School of Traditional Midwifery
The Florida School of Traditional Midwifery, which is on the top floor of the Birth & Wellness Center of Gainesville, is a not-for-profit school that offers training and licensure in direct-entry (students not coming from nursing school) midwifery.

Midwifery is among the growing trends of “holistic” approaches to healthcare, which refers to the medical care of the whole person, including physical, mental, emotional and spiritual factors. Midwives provide an array of health care services for women that can include medical histories and gynecological examinations, contraceptive counseling, prescriptions, and labor and delivery care. Providing expert care during labor, delivery and after birth is a specialty of midwives that makes them unique, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Increasingly, more women are choosing to have a midwife attend their birth at home or at a birth center instead of a hospital birth delivered by an obstetrician.

The school’s programs are designed to enable students to develop and refine the clinical and communication skills that are essential components of midwife care. Emphasis is placed on teaching out-of-hospital birth, differentiating between low-risk and high-risk pregnancies and preparing students to organize and operate their practices after licensing. Graduates of the three-year program are eligible to become Florida Licensed Midwives after passing the North American Registry of Midwives examination. Multiple forms of financial aid are also available to contribute towards and cover the $350 per credit hour.

For more information, call the Florida School of Traditional Midwifery at 352-338-0766 or visit www.midwiferyschool.org.

The Salon Professional Academy
With training facilities modeled after the architecturally savvy Redken NYC salons, designed by architect Peter Millard, The Salon Professional Academy located in northwest Gainesville teaches cosmetology in high style.

The TSPA offers programs in cosmetology, skin care and nails and requires a high school diploma or GED for admittance. The TSPA’s mission is to maximize students’ artistic potential through teaching the latest techniques in addition to business strategies. Classes are 10 to 20 months long, depending on if students are enrolled part-time or full-time. It is qualified by the Department of Education to offer financial aid to those who qualify.

The TSPA has an on-site salon that offers services such as haircuts, facials and manicures at a discounted price by studentsH under the guidance of their educators.

For more information, call 352-331-2424 or visit www.tspagainesville.com

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