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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 (20%) compared to all other jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2021 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:


National data

Median Salary: $60,570

Projected job growth: 3.9%

10th Percentile: $29,580

25th Percentile: $38,000

75th Percentile: $98,440

90th Percentile: $126,440

Projected job growth: 3.9%

State data

State Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Arizona $28,880 $25,270 $98,930
California $59,590 $29,500 $161,290
Colorado $47,580 $34,380 $66,500
Florida $37,850 $18,250 $79,590
Georgia $57,260 $22,360 $98,970
Hawaii $62,060 $47,150 $100,870
Idaho $37,100 $17,890 $77,830
Massachusetts $47,570 $29,580 $120,040
Maryland $77,740 $55,730 $160,890
Minnesota $47,150 $47,150 $120,240
North Carolina $89,290 $29,380 $125,930
New Jersey $98,990 $24,960 $125,930
New York $77,750 $47,470 $125,930
Oregon $58,640 $37,750 $95,360
Pennsylvania $60,570 $55,340 $94,410
Tennessee $79,080 $59,420 N/A
Texas $59,280 $48,350 $78,670
Virginia $73,780 $37,850 $99,830
Washington $48,260 $37,320 $77,750
Wisconsin $55,810 $35,810 $61,970

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2021 median salary; projected job growth through 2031. 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.