How to Get a Degree in Acupuncture


Acupuncture is one of the oldest forms of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and perhaps the first thing that comes to mind when discussing alternate forms of medicine. Acupuncture uses special needles to enter the skin of the body to stimulate specific points. The goal is to stimulate the body’s natural energy known as qi and use it for the purpose of healing and treatment. Acupuncture is only slightly invasive and may not be as painful as usually believed.

Until a few years ago, acupuncture had not made it to main stream complementary health approaches. As markets and communities have started to explore alternative health treatments for better and safer results, acupuncture has gradually received the spot light it deserves. If you are a staunch follower of Traditional Chinese Medicine and believe in the merits of acupuncture, then you should aim for getting a degree in acupuncture.

Importance of Education

Education opens doors and provides opportunities that may have been otherwise difficult to achieve. Not only that, education expands the mind and thought processing which allow you to process information, apply it and express ideas articulately.

Once in the job market, a resume that has ample, relevant and recent educational qualifications may stand out among the rest. Potential employers are usually looking for those candidates that fulfill educational requirements because education can provide a reflection of the candidate’s hard work and effort.

Degree Options and Requirements

It is advised that those interested in making a career in the field of acupuncture should possess a relevant degree. There are many acupuncture schools throughout the United States which provide ample academic opportunities to students. As a matter of fact, there are nearly 50 accredited acupuncture schools in the United States that may fulfill your requirements. It is strongly advised that you enroll in an educational program that is accredited by the Accreditation Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM).

During this academic period you may get exposed to a lot of training and theory that may help you get ready for your career in acupuncture. You may need to study Chinese medicine, herbal medicine, anatomy, physiology, pressure points and so on. To get into an acupuncture master’s program you may need to have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant medical field. Most often students with bachelor’s degrees in alternative medicine, anatomy, biology or physiology may find it helpful to opt for a master’s degree in acupuncture. The academic foundation created at the bachelor’s level may be quite helpful for students who want to seriously pursue a career in acupuncture.

You may also have the option of doing a diploma or an associate’s degree in acupuncture. Although these are legitimate academic options, they will not be sufficient if you wish to advance your career in acupuncture. At some point you will need a master’s or a doctorate in acupuncture depending on how hard you want to work.

The next step is certification and licensing. Educational qualifications aside, you need to be a certified and licensed acupuncturist if you wish to get serious about your career. You also need to be careful if the state you want to work in allows acupuncturists to practice – as acupuncture is illegal in a few states.

Some courses require candidates to possess a license before practicing – since requirements vary from state to state, it is advised to thoroughly read up on each state’s requirements. The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine can provide valuable insight on state licensure requirements.

Career Potential

At one point in time, acupuncture was nowhere as popular as conventional healing and medicinal techniques. But as of late, it has slowly found its way to mainstream alternative medicine, although it is a still a niche – it is gradually expanding.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics the demand for acupuncturists is forecasted to increase by the year 2018 with about 24,000 new jobs. This translates to a yearly increase of about 9.55 percent over the course of the coming years. There are 3 states with the most working acupuncturists – Florida, Maryland and California.

Some markets and consumers are gradually accepting alternative forms of treatment that do not rely on drugs, medicine and pharmaceutical products. Alterative Chinese Medicine is gaining acceptance as a popular alternative.

Salary Prospects

The average annual salary for acupuncturists is $76,000 ( According to another source, acupuncturists can earn an average annual salary of anywhere between the range of $56,000 and $84,000 depending on their level of experience, industry dynamics and clientele (

Related Reading

Further Reading

Copyright © 2022 All Rights Reserved. Program outcomes vary according to each institution's curriculum and job opportunities are not guaranteed. This site is for informational purposes and is not a substitute for professional help.