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Acupressure Classes, Training, and Careers

Learn about Acupressure Training and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

client receiving acupressure treatment

Developed in Asia over 5,000 years ago, Acupressure is a form of Chinese medicine that applies pressure to key healing points on the body, stimulating a person’s self-healing abilities and encouraging energy flow.

Acupressure uses the same meridian pathways and pressure points as acupuncture. However, students in acupressure classes and training learn to use finger pressure instead of needles to relieve pain and help clients achieve greater health.

Career Overview

Like other massage practices, acupressure sessions begin with a patient interview during which the practitioner gathers information on the patient’s health and symptoms. The practitioner then uses that information to choose different points on the client’s body to press. Clients remain fully clothed during sessions and should not experience any pain from the finger pressure.

Acupressure sessions last between 30 and 60 minutes, with some clients feeling better after a single session and others needing to return for a series of appointments. Patients may also choose to study acupressure online to learn self-care remedies for some of the more common conditions that acupressure can treat, including headaches, stress and back pain.

What You’ll Study in Acupressure School

You’ll find acupressure classes and training programs available at massage therapy institutes and specialized Chinese medicine or acupressure schools. Each acupressure school will offer its own unique curriculum, but, in general, you can expect your acupressure training to cover these subjects:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Acupressure points and meridians
  • Theories of Chinese medicine
  • Acupressure techniques and protocols
  • Health, hygiene and contraindications
  • Neuromuscular techniques
  • Clinical practice

Average Length of Study

Students with a background in bodywork or Chinese medicine can enroll in a specialized acupressure school program, which usually involves 150 to 250 hours of study. Some schools offer online acupressure courses to help working students who need more flexibility in their class schedule.

If you don’t have a license in massage therapy or a related field, you’ll want to choose acupressure classes that meet your state’s licensure requirements for practicing on patients. A massage therapy license, for example, generally requires 500 hours of combined classroom and hands-on practice time.

Acupressure Certification

Students can earn certification as an Asian Bodywork Therapist (ABT) through the American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia (AOBTA) and the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). To earn the ABT credential, candidates must complete an approved acupressure training program and pass a certification exam.

Acupressure Career Outlook

Massage-oriented professions like acupressure can anticipate a faster than average job growth (18.3%) compared to all other jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2022 Occupational Outlook Handbook. The increasing popularity of massage therapy and the ongoing wellness boom across the United States are among the many factors that will contribute to the strong job growth rate for massage professionals in the coming years.

Acupressure Salary

Acupressure is part of the larger field of massage therapy. You can research salaries and job growth information for your state, or nationally, below:

Massage Therapists

National data

Median Salary: $49,860

Projected job growth: 18.3%

10th Percentile: $29,040

25th Percentile: $39,080

75th Percentile: $67,300

90th Percentile: $90,530

Projected job growth: 18.3%

State data

State Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Alabama $25,670 $18,780 $56,460
Alaska $127,470 $41,710 $151,400
Arizona $49,920 $29,920 $93,010
Arkansas $38,440 $25,480 $51,800
California $58,920 $30,830 $100,830
Colorado $51,010 $28,640 $72,520
Connecticut $66,140 $33,650 $122,620
Delaware N/A N/A N/A
District of Columbia $50,500 $40,150 $76,340
Florida $46,720 $29,000 $74,130
Georgia $46,720 $19,310 $71,890
Hawaii $61,520 $23,120 $104,050
Idaho $57,220 $31,810 $75,730
Illinois $60,880 $34,370 $95,840
Indiana $49,930 $33,770 $80,470
Iowa $47,450 $31,980 $63,510
Kansas $47,090 $22,280 $68,560
Kentucky $47,110 $23,500 $81,110
Louisiana $35,580 $18,780 $70,300
Maine $44,930 $27,550 $95,250
Maryland $57,860 $35,980 $101,330
Massachusetts $49,740 $35,840 $92,870
Michigan $58,240 $31,410 $87,240
Minnesota $48,600 $43,540 $74,870
Mississippi $45,330 $30,850 $108,440
Missouri $28,730 $23,190 $68,990
Montana $52,260 $22,430 $95,970
Nebraska $55,990 $25,910 $83,000
Nevada $36,010 $18,520 $63,470
New Hampshire $62,400 $40,960 $75,690
New Jersey $48,250 $29,960 $71,190
New Mexico $41,510 $26,080 $67,600
New York $49,350 $34,250 $97,690
North Carolina $55,170 $32,470 $108,330
North Dakota $49,330 $29,500 $80,110
Ohio $47,140 $29,640 $74,060
Oklahoma $47,350 $26,240 $54,080
Oregon $77,080 $34,430 $93,600
Pennsylvania $58,940 $29,170 $95,800
South Carolina $44,500 $17,560 $65,060
South Dakota $41,500 $29,650 $69,540
Tennessee $49,010 $20,450 $65,450
Texas $48,100 $24,290 $76,280
Utah $51,100 $24,420 $83,550
Vermont $80,360 $27,590 $103,760
Virginia $52,870 $25,060 $83,010
Washington $76,290 $39,160 $99,960
West Virginia $48,550 $25,690 $76,130
Wisconsin $47,180 $19,110 $78,990
Wyoming $49,650 $31,150 $53,900

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2022 median salary; projected job growth through 2032. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.

Is an Acupressure Career Right for You?

An acupressure career requires advanced training in anatomy, physiology, Chinese medicine and the unique techniques involved in acupressure therapy. A thorough understanding of key business concepts, which many acupressure schools offer, will also serve you well in building a successful practice.

If you are interested in an acupressure career, take a closer look at acupressure schools or acupressure online courses. Then choose the acupressure training program that meets your personal and professional needs.

Sources: Acupressure.com, Acupressure Institute, Acupressure Therapy Institute, iEmily.com.