Acupuncture Programs and Careers Q&A

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What careers can I pursue with an acupuncture degree?

You can pursue a career in hospitals, state and local agencies, spas and clinics.

Teaching and working as a Chinese language translator are also solid career options after earning an acupuncture degree. Learn about your career options.

What degree programs will I take?

Aspiring acupuncturists who have an associate’s degree or two years of baccalaureate study can enroll in programs that combine a bachelor’s and master’s degree in acupuncture into one. If you’ve already earned a bachelor’s, you can apply to one of the many Master of Science in Acupuncture degree programs.

Doctoral programs are somewhat new and can help acupuncturists further hone their skills and serve as a leader in the acupuncturist community. Read all about degree programs and curriculum.

What can I expect after I submit a request for information to a school?

First, you’ll need to make sure you fill out the form correctly. For example, if your completed education level is high school graduate, you would need to complete a bachelor’s program before applying to a master’s degree program. So if you enter “high school graduate” and request master’s degree information, your request may fail. Be sure to request information for the correct level of education you plan to pursue.

Once you’ve selected the schools you’re interested in and submitted your information, you’ll receive a thank you from the schools you chose. You’ll be contacted by these schools either by email or telephone. The advisors who call you will ask you about the programs you’re interested in, when you would like to start school, and talk about financial aid options, among other things. Feel free to ask questions!

Is financial aid available for acupuncture school?

Financial aid is available from a variety of sources. Government financial aid is the most common, but before you can be considered for aid, you’ll need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Other types of financial aid include scholarships, grants, private loans and PLUS loans.

It’s beneficial to talk with someone from your school’s financial aid office as many acupuncture institutions offer payment plan options or provide a list of available scholarships specific to the health care field.

What types of courses will I take?

Your acupuncture coursework will include nutrition, needle techniques, acupuncture points, Asian bodywork and ethics. As you progress in your education you’ll learn about internal medicine and practice management.

Is it better to work for myself or an employer?

The majority of acupuncturists are self-employed or work in a small practice. Some acupuncturists enjoy the medical benefits and structured hours that come with working in a spa or clinic. You will more likely have longer hours and less structure as a self-employed acupuncturist, especially as you begin to build your client base. Your decision may very well come down to your personal comfort level.

If I work for myself, what else will I need to learn?

Any self-employed individual should take classes in business administration and accounting in order to keep books, manage payroll and keep up on health insurance policy. If you plan on hiring employees you’ll want to take some courses in management or human resources. Most acupuncture programs offer some sort of practice management course in the curriculum.

Does school program accreditation matter for acupuncture careers?

Your school should be accredited by The Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM). This agency is the regulating body for acupuncture schools and sets the standards and policies for the programs.

What type of licensing (if any) will I need?

The majority of states in the U.S. and District of Columbia require acupuncturists to become licensed by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). Becoming licensed requires earning your degree and sitting for an exam issued by the NCCAOM. Some states have additional requirements, such as a number of supervised practice hours, so you’ll want to check with you state’s regulating body.

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