The Siddha system of education in ancient India was not formally organized till middle of 20th century. The teaching was imparted in the form of verses, mostly in oral form passed from one generation to the other through Guru-Sishya (teacher-disciple) tradition. The sacred medicines and techniques were taught only to a close circle of disciples.
Siddha education turned into a formal institutional education around the middle of the 20th Century for catering to the needs of the public. Developments in academics and scientific research started happening. Steps are being taken by the government for collecting, screening, analyzing and codifying the available manuscripts.
The undergraduate education begins after completion of 12th standard for a duration of 5 ½ years leading to the degree of Bachelor of Siddha Medicine and Surgery (B.S.M.S)
The course also includes one year compulsory rotatory internship.
(a) Pass in 12th standard with science or any other equivalent examination recognised by University or Boards with fifty per cent aggregate marks in the subjects of Physics, Chemistry and Biology.
(b) Candidates should have opted Tamil as one of the subjects in the 10th Standard or in Higher Secondary course. Otherwise, they need to study Tamil as a subject during the First year.
The following subjects are included in the curriculum as per CCIM (Central Council of Indian Medicine) UG regulation 2013. http://ccimindia.org/ug_regulation.php
POST GRADUATE EDUCATION
The post graduate education is of three years duration leading to the degree of MD(S) (Doctor of Medicine in Siddha)
Presently there are six specialities :
HIGHER EDUCATION AND RESEARCH
Advanced studies leading to the degree of PhD are offered by few institutes like The Tamil Nadu DR M.G.R Medical University and National Institute of Siddha in all 6 Departments of Siddha specialties http://nischennai.org/nis-courses.html Research programs in siddha are also offered by private universities like SASTRA University Tanjore, SRM University Chennai.
CAREER IN SIDDHA
Siddha medicine is gaining popularity both within the country and abroad because of its wider acceptance as an alternative system of medicine. After Completion of BSMS, a candidate has to register in the State Council for Indian Medicine / Register of Practitioners of Central Council of Indian Medicine, to be eligible for practicing siddha medicine all over India.
The Tamil Nadu state Government appoints BSMS qualified Siddha Doctors in Government Hospitals and Primary Health centers. This recruitment is done through Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission. Kerala Government also appoints Siddha Doctors in some of its Indian medicine dispensaries. Also in Central Govt Health scheme (CGHS) Siddha graduates are appointed as Medical officers in CGHS wellness centres in cities like Chennai and Delhi. Siddha doctors are also appointed under National Rural Health Mission project.
Also openings are available at various levels and positions in Central government organizations like Ministry of AYUSH, Central Council for research in Siddha, Central Siddha Research Institute, Central Council of Indian Medicine, TKDL (Traditional Knowledge Digital Library) run by CSIR HRD, Pharmacopeia Laboratory for Indian Medicine, Ghaziabad. Opportunities also exist in Hospitals and pharmaceuticals run by private sectors. After completing the post graduate degree in siddha a person can opt for teaching in Government or Private Siddha Medical Institutions.
A siddha graduate can also opt for other PG courses in basic medical sciences like M.Sc in Anatomy, Physiology, Epidemiology, Medical Microbiology, Human Genetics, Neuro Science etc and extend career in research or teaching.
No doubt, the career opportunities in Siddha are presently concentrated in the States of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, there is increased interest in this branch of medicine in other parts of India and outside India especially in Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and even overseas, which is a promising development for opening new avenues of career.