Acupuncture Career

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Career in Acupuncture

While considered an alternative health practice in the West, acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medical art practiced for more than 5,000 years. It involves inserting fine needles at points on the body’s surface to influence physiological functions. Acupuncture practitioners treat a wide range of physical and psychological conditions and provide support for patients with chronic diseases.

Career Options in Acupuncture

Licensed acupuncture practitioners are trained to provide a broad range of healthcare services, including internal, dental and visual care, as well as addiction treatment, pain management and rehabilitation assistance. They may work in private practices, multidisciplinary clinic settings or hospitals. Other career options include teaching, research and writing.

Acupuncture Job Duties

Unlike conventional Western medical practice, acupuncture professionals are trained to treat the entire individual rather than the specific illness or condition. They take into account a patient’s physical, mental and emotional condition in order to determine the proper course of treatment. In addition to providing acupuncture therapy, practitioners help their patients achieve balance and wellness in their everyday lives.

Acupuncture Career Requirements

Acupuncture regulations vary state by state, according to the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine ( NCCAOM ) ( ). Most states have licensing or continuing education requirements, including certification by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.

even states ( Alabama, Delaware, Kansas, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota ) allow only medical doctors, osteopaths and chiropractors to perform acupuncture, while at least two states ( Louisiana and Michigan ) require acupuncture professionals to treat patients under the supervision of doctors or osteopaths.

Acupuncture Career Salary

According to, as of 2011, the average annual income varies from $43,000 to $60,000 ( ). As more and more individuals are turning towards alternative medical practices, rather than the mainstream biomedicine, the demand for acupuncture is likely to rise and so will the earnings.

Educational Requirements for Acupuncture Career

Most licensed acupuncturists hold master’s degrees or post – baccalaureate certificates from schools accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine ( ). As the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine ( CCAOM ) explains, most programs require 1,500 – 2,000 hours of acupuncture training and take 3 – 4 years to complete ( ). Graduates must pass the certification exam offered by NCCAOM and fulfill any additional state licensing requirements.

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