Enrollment for 2018-2019 is available through the Svastha Āchārya pre-requirement.
About the course
The Āyurveda Āchārya Certified Course is a second-level professional educational program offered through AyurvedaFirst. It is open to graduates of the Svastha Āchārya Certified Course. It is a complete, professional Ayurvedic Medical course on par with the Bachelor’s of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery course in India.
What is an Āyurveda Āchārya?
Āyurveda Āchārya is a Sanskrit phrase that loosely means “a doctor, master guide or teacher of Āyurveda” and it is the title conferred to graduates in India who have successfully completed training to become licensed Āyurvedic Doctors. This entry-level, professional training is a Bachelor of Āyurvedic Medicine and Surgery, and consists of 5.5 years full-time with 1 year internship included. Although this course has always been considered the minimum educational requirement for practicing Āyurvedic Doctors, it is intended to meet the demands of Indian culture and its current society. It also includes a significant percentage of time dedicated to learning Allopathy with the result that many Āyurvedic Doctors attempt to practice both systems.
Outside of India, the scope for an Āyurveda Āchārya is intended to include Āyurvedic Medicine in its complete form, both classical and updated, so that it is appropriate for the new place, time and people. Additionally, a varying amount of Allopathic knowledge is required to facilitate and ease communication between professionals of various medical disciplines. However, there is no expectation that an Āyurveda Āchārya should be fully proficient and capable of practicing any other medical discipline than Āyurveda. For those who truly want to integrate practices, they may consider following the lead of Indian scholars who opt to complete the full training of each discipline separately.
The AyurvedaFirst scopes of practice and competency levels for an Āyurveda Āchārya are currently being finalized and will include mastery of all areas of Āyurvedic Medicine from a classical perspective along with the theoretical knowledge, practice and experience of applying Āyurveda in a manner appropriate for the current place, time and people. These updates and modifications are based on a combination of manipulating classical principles to apply them accurately through recalculation of significant, health-impacting factors, and they are supported by a body of evidence demonstrating efficacy.
Who is this course designed for?
This course is designed for individuals who are committed to the practice of authentic Āyurvedic Medicine in a manner which is appropriate for cultures and places outside of India. It is ideal for those who fully intend to practice Āyurveda as their primary profession and who strive for deep and thorough classical knowledge coupled with practical experience. Students who expect to excel in this course must be highly disciplined, strongly committed, and able to dedicate a minimum of 4 years to rigorous study.
How was this course developed?
Similar to all of the AyurvedaFirst professional-level education, this course was developed through a combination of research and practice in India and in the US. With very different cultures and political (legal) landscapes, the opportunities for practice carry their own specific requirements, which must be taken into account when providing any type of professional-level education of this nature. AyurvedaFirst is fully aware of the legal obstacles to practice outside of India and is working diligently to provide a set of viable options to graduates. Based on these obstacles and options, the Āyurveda Āchārya has been developed to maintain and promote classical integrity in knowledge and practice, while simultaneously providing a safe pathway for students and graduates to work within their profession.
How is this different from the Ayurvedic Practitioner (AP) and BAMS (Bachelor’s of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery)?
From almost all aspects, this course differs in varying degrees from both the AP and BAMS programs. From the very foundation, this course has been designed around the core of authentic Āyurveda, whereas both BAMS, and its subsequent derivative, AP, have not. BAMS was designed to fit Āyurveda into the system of Allopathy in the decades that followed Indian independence, as the western system was perceived to be superior to all traditional systems. AP has followed suit, knowingly or not, as it has been propagated in the US.
Additionally, the AyurvedaFirst Āyurveda Āchārya course maintains a scope much larger and deeper than that of the Āyurvedic Practitioner. This course requires students to thoroughly study and apply the classical Āyurvedic texts, which have served as the medical compendium for Āyurveda for millennia. The Sanskrit requirements are significantly higher as well, so that graduates can communicate effectively with Indian Āyurveda Āchāryas just as well as they can communicate with the western medical fraternity.
The significant differences from BAMS lie in the application of the knowledge. Because graduates are not anticipating to practice in India, there are many areas of the BAMS syllabus which can be completely omitted, such as the subject of Agada Tantra, or the study of medical toxicology and its legal practice as a medical examiner within India. Additionally, the focus within BAMS towards Allopathy leans very strongly towards information which may be decades old by the time it reaches the students. This type of approach is irrelevant and an unnecessary use of time in a US educational system. The AyurvedaFirst Āyurveda Āchārya course is designed to train students in the basic knowledge needed for effective communication along with the tools to stay relevant and up-to-date in their profession.
The Āyurveda Āchārya is a minimum of 4 years of study, including one year in the Svastha Āchārya Certified Course. The additional 3 years cover the sections of Chikitsā, in theory and practice. The course combines online theory classes, individual and group study, and on-site training and application. Included in the 3 years is a mandatory, minimum 1 year internship period which may be spent partially in India to allow full coverage of all clinical departments, pañchakarma, and other practical aspects of the science which are still in their early stages of development outside of India.
Applicants must be 19 years of age or older and have completed their High School Diploma (or GED) as well as the one year Svastha Āchārya Certified Course. College-level anatomy and physiology at a level similar to a massage therapist is also required.
Scope of practice and competency
Upon successful completion, graduates can expect to be competent at practicing authentic Āyurvedic Medicine at the level of an Āyurveda Āchārya in India, excluding the practices of Allopathy and surgery. Additionally, graduates will be capable of performing in-depth research, development of the science, writing scholarly articles, contributing to the profession as a whole, and communicating with peers within the AyurvedaFirst model of practice, as well as professionals from India and other medical disciplines.
The first course open to the public will be the 2018-2019 class beginning May 29, 2018. Enrollment opens April 2018.