How to Become an


The complete career guide to be an Acupuncturist: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $85,120
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 12%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Creativity Focused
    Career Attribute

Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine that involves the insertion on tiny needles into the skin at various acupuncture and chakra points.  The areas on needle insertion depends on the type of illness or disease that needs treated.

Recommended Schools

What is an Acupuncturist?

The following responsibilities are common for Acupuncturists:

  • Carries out consultations with patients to establish a detailed medical history, assess the patients health, determine a diagnosis and come up with a treatment plan
  • Explain the diagnosis and treatment to the patient and answer any questions or concerns they may have
  • Treats the patients by inserting acupuncture needles into the skin at certain points and locations on the body to stimulate the body’s own healing responses
  • Incorporates any other necessary treatments that the patient may need, like burning herbs, electro-acupuncture, acupressure or cupping
  • Assesses and follows the patients progress and reviewing and updating the patients treatment plans as necessary

A Day In The Life

Acupuncture focuses on the energy of a patient as well as chemical and biological processes of the human body and mind.  These individuals are proponents for alternative medicine.  This practice is to maintain general, over-all health and well-being.  They believe that energy flows through the human body and mind through certain medians and pathways that are related and attached to certain areas and organs of the body.  Therefore, the role of these individuals is to aid, assist and maintain in the rebalancing that energy flow so that the body can try to begin to heal itself.

They conduct thorough and detailed medical histories of their patients.  They collect information like current health conditions, diet, lifestyle, skin tone, and any other symptoms before developing a treatment plan.  The accupuncture treatments are administered over a long period of time, throughout various sessions ranging anywhere from a moth to a year to longer, depending on the severity of the patients condition.

Typical Work Schedule

Because these individuals are typically self-employed their working hours can vary greatly.  Their hours are usually dependent on the patients availability, but ultimately the acupuncturist can see as many patients that they desire.

Projected Job Growth

As the population continues to age, those in need of pain relief will seek out various forms of naturopathy to help ease their symptoms.  Therefor, acupuncturists will continue to be in high demand for years to come.

Typical Employers

These individuals are typically self-employed and run their own individual clinics and handle their own roster of clients and maintain all the patients, record and scheduling themselves.  Some also come to a patients home to administer treatment to a patient.

Recommended Schools

How To Become an Acupuncturist

The majority of acupuncture schools require at least a two-year, or associate’s degree to enter their program.  Alternative medical schools offer courses and degrees in this profession.  A student should learn about the meridian theory, therapeutic techniques and equipment, clinical strategies and methodologies, functions and indications, point location and needle manipulation in treatment settings.  The most common degree is a Master of Science in Acupuncture.  Once a student has earned their degree, they will need to become certified through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture (NCCOAM).  Most states require an individual obtain a license to practice acupuncture. They must first pass the exam to become certified  and licensed.  The master’s degree along with the proper licensing will allow an individual to practice acupuncture in 43 of the 50 United States.  However, the licensure requirements vary state by state.  Many states also specify that an individual must first become a chiropractor or medical doctor to practice acupuncture.  It is important that an individual verifies the requirements for the state that the individual wishes to practice in.

Acupuncturist Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

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High Range


National Hourly Wage

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High Range


How do Acupuncturist salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Acupuncturist's can make an average annual salary of $85,120, or $41 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $55,510 or $27 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #115 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally

Highest Education Among Acupuncturists

  • 27.9%   Doctorate
  • 42%   Masters
  • 15.7%   Bachelors
  • 3%   Associates
  • 7.6%   College
  • 2.6%   High School
  • 1.2%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Acupuncturist job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 6,000 jobs for a total of 56,100 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 12% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #148 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally

What Companies Employ The Most Acupuncturists

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Federal government, excluding postal service 14,100 -1,400 -1%
Self-employed workers 13,000 1,600 2%
General medical and surgical hospitals; private 5,600 400 0%

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