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How Much Do Acupuncturists Make? Career Outlook and FAQs

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Acupuncture is a key treatment in traditional Chinese medicine, and its popularity and use has spread in the US. Commonly used to treat pain, acupuncture involves stimulating specific points on the body through the use of sterilized thin needles. This treatment has other uses and benefits such as managing stress and promoting overall patient well-being. 

If you’re considering an acupuncture career, read on to learn more about the field and where the industry is going in the next few years. 


What Do Acupuncturists Do?

After consulting with the patient about their concerns and desires for treatment, an acupuncturist inserts thin, solid needles into multiple “acupoints,” prompting the body to release natural chemicals to combat symptoms and pain. The insertion also helps to rebalance the body's overall energy, also called  qi (pronounced “chee”). 

Acupuncturists may also use cupping, therapeutic massages, acupressure, and other natural therapies to support patient wellness. 

An acupuncture degree is required in order to gain a license. Many acupuncture degrees also include Chinese Herbal Medicine training, which provides herbal medicine approaches for the practitioner  and can increase earning potential.


Where Do Acupuncturists Work?

Acupuncturists can apply their expertise in a wide variety of work settings, including: 

Private practice: Some acupuncturists open their own facilities and have a dedicated client base. This allows for flexibility in scheduling, workload, and specialization within acupuncture treatment. 

Chiropractic offices: As a popular treatment for pain and issues such as arthritis, acupuncture aligns well with the goals of a chiropractor. Acupuncturists may join a chiropractic practice as an alternative or additional type of patient care. 

Hospitals and clinics: Acupuncturists working in hospitals and clinics can partner with other healthcare providers to build a more robust patient care plan.

Specialty clinics: Professional acupuncturists looking to get involved in their community and impact preventative care and care for those who want alternative treatments can pursue careers at specialty care clinics. 

Hospice care facilities: With the various pains and symptoms that arise near the end of life, acupuncturists can significantly assist hospice care facilities. Their treatment can promote comfort and peace for patients and help to ease their transition. 

Athletic facilities: Acupuncture can help treat back, neck, and general muscle pain, making it an excellent treatment option for athletes looking for less invasive and more natural treatments. 


What is the Career Outlook for Acupuncturists? 

Even given the variety of contexts that acupuncturists can work in, is there a demand for acupuncturists? Yes! In fact, the demand for acupuncturists is expected to increase, and it’s estimated that more than 13,000 new jobs will be filled by 2029


How Much Do Acupuncturists Make?

The average acupuncture salary varies depending on location, experience, and context. The national average salary for acupuncturists is $71,770, but professionals in specialty settings can make $103,600. 


Start Your Acupuncture Career at Bastyr

At Bastyr University, we are committed to training professionals dedicated to providing natural solutions to medical problems. We know that the demand for acupuncture is on the rise, and we have several degrees to equip the next generation of skilled practitioners. 

Our Acupuncture and East Asian Medicine Programs prepare graduates to engage with the healthcare needs of their communities in responsible and natural ways, improving patient health one treatment at a time. 

To learn more about our programs and the acupuncture industry, download our guide, Acupuncture & The Science of Natural Healing


Written by Bastyr

Bastyr University's academic and research programs have received international recognition for pioneering work in science-based natural medicine. We offer a learning environment that fosters serious inquiry, professional dedication and lifelong relationships. Your career begins here, where comprehensive training makes the difference.