Traditionally the sMenpa are trained under the traditional educational system either under private guru-shisya tradition or under gyud-pa (lineage) system in families in which the knowledge is passed down from father to son through generations. It takes several years to become a skillful sMenpa, which requires hard theoretical and practical trainings. After finishing his/her training the trainee sMenpa has to give an examination in front of the entire community in the presence of a few expert sMenpa in a ceremony to confer the designation of sMenpa on him/her. For higher training, those from the Indian Himalayan region as well used to go to study with reputed scholars or to any of the medical colleges in Tibet in the past. Some from these regions preferred to go to Tibet to begin their education of Sowa-Rigpa.
Given the modern social and educational system, some institutions are imparting the education at par with the modern system in terms of time with packages to be completed within a limited duration. Presently, after 10+2 grate the students are selected on entrance test merit basis. The nomenclature of this six years course is sMenpa kachupa which is equivalent to Bachelor of Sowa Rigpa (Tibetan Medicine) . This course is presently conducted in following four Institutions in India:
- Central Institute of Buddhist Studies, Leh (under Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India)
- Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute, Dharamsala HP of his Holiness Dalai Lama
- Central University for Tibetan Studies, Saranath UP (under Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India)
- Chagpori Medical Institute Darjeeling (W.B).