I would say to some degree I agree with mrpin in being cautious about studying TCM. I graduated from UWS and practiced for ten years until recently. I eventually became tired of the ongoing challenges of running a practice and more or less gave it up a year ago. I now work as a freelance web developer (a career with far more growth and opportunity).
I would advise those who are interested in practicing acupuncture to consider instead becoming qualified in an allied health profession such as physiotherapy first. This will provide you with solid opportunities for gainful employment which a TCM degree cannot. Then you can always do a Masters in acupuncture at a place like RMIT or the fact of the matter is, you can more or less practice acupuncture as a physiotherapist with minimal training. It is a fact that TCM practitioners get very worked up about, however this fact is not likely to change in Australia any time soon, if at all.
When I first began studying acupuncture 15 years ago, I was 20 and knew nothing about the career opportunities. My teachers at UWS enthusiastically promoted TCM as a real career with a future. They said registration was imminent (didn't happen until 12 years later) and opportunities for acupuncturists would become widespread as it became "more accepted" in the healthcare landscape. In fifteen years I have not seen much in terms of growth or opportunity. There is still no real employment opportunity in the healthcare field for acupuncturists. There are occasionally well established clinics that "advertise" for a acupuncturist but it is usually a part time subcontractor type position rather than full time paid work. And these are rare.
Ultimately if you get a TCM or acupuncture degree, you need to be prepared to establish your own clinic practice and become self employed. Now with the huge numbers of graduates there is a lot of competition for what is essentially still a relatively small niche market. Still the majority of the public are not interested in getting acupuncture, and less in being treating with TCM and all its bells and whistles.
There are two areas in which interest in acupuncture is relatively strong: Pain management, and womens health (read:fertility). For pain management, you need to compete with the growing number of physios who are taking an interest in needle therapy and can offer their patients a solid background in injury management and rehabilitation therapy that those with a TCM cannot. They can also offer a variety of rebates and a degree of accessibility that TCM practitioners cannot. This is unfortunately the reality. The training opportunities for physios interested in needling therapies is growing and some are very good, offering many hours of training and certification. If and when the "science" around acupuncture for pain and injury develops, I'd predict it is physiotherapy that will get on board, leaving the archaic ideas of TCM in the dust.
In regards to womens' health, firstly, the market is becoming saturated as more and more practitioners choose this as their niche because of the demand. However, in the last few years, I have seen this area become more and more concentrated in the area of "IVF support" which garnished a reputation due to a bunch of favourable studies that were published a decade ago. If you choose fertility, you will find the majority of your patients are undergoing ART and less interested in a natural approach, as more and more women are pushed earlier into assisted methods. Also, now, there are an increasing number of studies that suggest acupuncture does not help, and I would predict that this "trend" is slowing down.
So this is just my objective and honest assessment from 15 years in the "industry". I speak from a detached position as it is no longer my vocation. Like I said, interest in acupuncture to a degree is growing in some areas like pain, but this has nothing to do with an interest in TCM. Chinese medicine always will, in my opinion, hold a very niche public interest. It will never become "mainstream". Thirty years ago, when there were very few practitioners, this may have been a market well met. Nowadays, it seems the supply far outweighs the demand with so many new practitioners graduating every year into a profession with NO job market.
Think critically. If you do do it, be prepared for a good few years of real struggle and your best bet is to move to a regional area with very few practitioners.