Acupuncturists can earn a solid paycheck at clinics, hospitals and even as a private practitioner.
How much do acupuncturists make?
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has become more popular in recent years as people search out less costly, but effective, medical treatments. With the increased interest, acupuncturists can enjoy a well-paying career helping others.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) latest salary updates, health diagnosing and treating practitioners, such as an acupuncturist, earn a median annual salary of $74,530.
Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. Plus, as you gain more years of experience, you’ll be able to demand a higher salary.
Oriental medicine practitioners, like acupuncturists, have the chance to increase their earning potential in a private practice if they’re good self-marketers. Building a strong clientele will help secure a steady and well-paying salary, but takes time and plenty of networking.
And like any profession, more education can always help boost your pay. If you have a background in other areas of alternative medicine, you could be a more desirable candidate at a hospital or clinic. As a private practitioner, you can use your additional skills and background as a way to promote yourself to new clients.
How do acupuncturist salaries compare?
|Natural Health Career||Median Annual Salary*|
|Physical Therapist Assistants & Aides||$45,290|
|Healthcare Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners||$74,530|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2018-19 Edition, Massage Therapists; Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides; Chiropractors; Healthcare Support Occupations; Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners, All Other.
*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.
Is there demand for this career?
CAM practitioners are in demand as rising health care costs plague Americans. Patients are also turning to more natural and holistic approaches to their health making acupuncture an in-demand career.
Where you decide to work will also determine the demand. According to BLS, states with the highest concentration of jobs health diagnosing and treating practitioners include:
- District of Columbia
- Rhode Island
Is this a growing field?
According to O*Net, employment for acupuncturists is predicted to grow between 9 and 13 percent. However, it is important to be aware that national long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions.
How much competition will I face for a job?
The amount of competition you could face is dependent on a number of factors.
Considers questions like: Will you be one of only a few acupuncturist private practices in your city or town? Will your school help with job placement?
Hospitals or clinics might require their acupuncturists to work evenings or weekends to accommodate patients’ schedules. If you’re willing to commit to a somewhat irregular schedule, this could make you a more desirable candidate compared to someone looking for standard office hours.
What kind of institutions hire acupuncturists?
Acupuncturists can often find jobs in hospitals, clinics, chiropractic and physical therapist offices, colleges and universities, national and state agencies and spas. However, the majority is self-employed.
If you’re not comfortable going out on your own soon after graduating, consider working in a clinic or hospital where you can continue to learn from others and gain the confidence to eventually run your own business.
How do I advance in my acupuncturist career?
Expanding your educational background can help you advance your acupuncturist career. If you’ve earned a graduate degree in acupuncture, you might consider taking continuing education courses to stay up to date on the latest research and techniques.
Additionally, you could pad your existing degree with a post-graduate certificate other areas like traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Other certificates include holistic nutrition and hypnotherapy.
Source: Midwest College of Oriental Medicine, O*NET OnLine, Acupuncturists