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Career Profile: Acupuncturists

Diagnose, treat, and prevent disorders by stimulating specific acupuncture points within the body using acupuncture needles. May also use cups, nutritional supplements, therapeutic massage, acupressure, and other alternative health therapies.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 55,700 people employed as acupuncturists in the United States. The median annual salary is $82,400. Entry level employees earn approximately $43,200 per year and senior employees earn approximately $160,990 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Apply moxibustion directly or indirectly to patients using Chinese, non-scarring, stick, or pole moxa.
  • Treat patients using tools, such as needles, cups, ear balls, seeds, pellets, or nutritional supplements.
  • Analyze physical findings and medical histories to make diagnoses according to Oriental medicine traditions.
  • Develop individual treatment plans and strategies.
  • Adhere to local, state, and federal laws, regulations, and statutes.
  • Insert needles to provide acupuncture treatment.
  • Identify correct anatomical and proportional point locations based on patients' anatomy and positions, contraindications, and precautions related to treatments, such as intradermal needles, moxibustion, electricity, guasha, or bleeding.
  • Collect medical histories and general health and lifestyle information from patients.
  • Maintain and follow standard quality, safety, environmental, and infection control policies and procedures.
  • Educate patients on topics, such as meditation, ergonomics, stretching, exercise, nutrition, the healing process, breathing, or relaxation techniques.
  • Dispense herbal formulas and inform patients of dosages and frequencies, treatment duration, possible side effects, and drug interactions.
  • Maintain detailed and complete records of health care plans and prognoses.
  • Assess patients' general physical appearance to make diagnoses.
  • Formulate herbal preparations to treat conditions considering herbal properties, such as taste, toxicity, effects of preparation, contraindications, and incompatibilities.
  • Apply heat or cold therapy to patients using materials, such as heat pads, hydrocollator packs, warm compresses, cold compresses, heat lamps, or vapor coolants.
  • Consider Western medical procedures in health assessment, health care team communication, and care referrals.
  • Evaluate treatment outcomes and recommend new or altered treatments as necessary to further promote, restore, or maintain health.
  • Treat medical conditions, using techniques such as acupressure, shiatsu, or tuina.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
55,700
Annual Openings:
3,600
Increase in Openings by 2030:
5%
Annual Salary Range:
$43,200 - $160,990
Education Requirements:
Master's degree or higher