Kerri had been in severe stomach pain for over a year when her mother suggested that she go and see an acupuncturist. While the acupuncturist was prevented by law from making a medical diagnosis, she told Kerri that something just didn't feel right - her "Qi" was off due to some internal irregularity. The pressure point therapy she used, along with herbal remedies, helped until a radiologist finally found the problem. The acupuncturist had been right - something was irregular. One of Kerri's organs was out of place, causing the severe pain and sickness she experienced every time she ate.
Kerri is just one of the 9-12 million patients who turn to acupuncturists each year to help relieve them of pain and ailments. That number appears to be growing and, with the growing number of patients, the number of acupuncture jobs will also grow within the next few years. There are currently over 10,000 licensed acupuncturists in the U.S. today and the number of acupuncture jobs will jump as the population continues to age and have more health concerns.
Acupuncture Job Description
Acupuncture jobs can either be in a private acupuncture practice with other acupuncturists, with a medical doctor (as is required in some states), or in your own private practice. Acupuncturists are health professionals who "diagnose" and treat ailments with acupressure, most commonly administered with needles. Some states prohibit the actual diagnosis of a patient, but all 41 states where acupuncture is legal allows acupuncturists to assess the patient and treat the pressure points they feel are involved in the ailment or pain. The correct application of pressure to the points in question helps release the positive flow of energy, or "Qi" in the body.
Educational Demands for an Acupuncture Job
There are approximately 50 accredited acupuncture schools, or ones waiting for accreditation. The programs at each acupuncture school vary, but can take up to ee or four years to complete. Some schools allow some classes to be taken online. You will be expected to complete internships and take the state and national licensure exam at the end of your studies. At least 40 states and the District of Columbia use an exam administered by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Most schools for acupuncture do require that you have at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university before admitting you to the program in their acupuncture school. Most acupuncture schools have financial aid available for those who qualify.
What to Expect When you are Hired for an Acupuncture Job
According to Payscale.com, a beginning acupuncture professional can earn a median salary of $45,000, while a long-time professional in an acupuncture job can earn a median income of $122,500. The pay scale varies greatly by region and state.