How To Become An Acupuncturist-Top Schools and Salary

In order to become an acupuncturist, you will need to attend a school for acupuncture in the state you wish to perform your practice.

Each state has different licensing requirements. Before you attend any school for acupuncture makes sure is it accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Students attending ACAOM accredited schools can apply for federal student loans. School training usually lasts anywhere from 2 to 4 years. Courses of study range from biology, anatomy, and physiology. To see if this profession is right for you, take one of this website’s totally free career and personality tests.

After graduating from acupuncture school most states will require you to take and pass the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) examination to become a Licensed Acupuncturist. Please check with your state’s requirements for becoming a Licensed Acupuncturist before attending any schools and take any certification tests.

Five Tips For Choosing An Acupuncture School

1. Make sure it is accredited by the ACAOM
2. Find out the rate at which it’s students pass the national certification exam
3. Talk with current students and teachers
4. Find a school that matches how you learn best…Lecture base, clinical base
5. Find a school that focuses on the form of Acupuncture you wish to study (Traditional Chinese Medicine, Japanese Acupuncture, Koran Acupuncture, Western Medical Acupuncture)


  • Average Annual Salary: $85,470
  • Expected Lifetime Earnings: $3,579,474

Top Acupuncture Schools

  • Arizona School of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, Location : Tucson, Arizona, ACAOM accreditation, Master in Acupuncture (M.Ac.), Master of Science in Oriental Medicine (M.S.O.M.), Certificate in Asian Bodywork Therapy/Tui Na. Applicants (Cert. A.B.T./Tui Na)
  • Midwest College of Oriental Medicine, Location: Chicago, Illinois, ACAOM accreditation, Master level Acupuncture certificate, Master of Science degree in Oriental Medicine (M.S.O.M.) combined with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition.
  • Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine College, Location: Berkeley, California, ACAOM accreditation & California Acupuncture Board, Master of Science in Oriental Medicine (M.S.O.M.)
  • Institute of Clinical Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, Location: Honolulu, Hawaii, ACAOM accreditation, Master of Science in Oriental Medicine (M.S.O.M.)
  • New England School of Acupuncture, Location: Newton, Massachusetts, ACAOM accreditation, Master of Science in Oriental Medicine (M.S.O.M.), Master in Acupuncture (M.Ac.)
  • Five Branches University, Location: Santa Cruz, California, ACAOM accreditation, Master’s degree Traditional Chinese Medicine (M.TCM), Master of Acupuncture (M.Ac.) Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Program
  • Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine Location: Denver, Colorado, ACAOM accreditation, Master of Science Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine (M.TCM), Master in Acupuncture (M.Ac.)
  • Tri-State College of Acupuncture, Location: New York, New York,  ACAOM accreditation, Master of Science in Oriental Medicine (M.S.O.M.), Master in Acupuncture (M.Ac.)
  • Bastyr University, Location: Kenmore, Washington, ACAOM accreditation, Master of Acupuncture (M.Ac.), Master of Science in Oriental Medicine (M.S.O.M.), Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Program
  • Southwest Acupuncture College, Locations: Albuquerque, New Mexico; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Boulder, Colorado, ACAOM accreditation, Master of Acupuncture (M.Ac.), Master of Science in Oriental Medicine (M.S.O.M.)

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a medical technique that uses needles inserted into the skin of the body as a form of treatment for a wide variety of medical purposes. Most notability it is used to aid in pain relief, to promote healthy living, to support infertility treatments, and to assist in therapeutic practices. Acupuncture originated in Asia as a form of Chinese and Japanese medicine. The American Academy of Medical Acupuncture and The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine are two organizations that govern and help promote the safe practice of acupuncture treatment.

Before they perform their services, acupuncturists will learn and evaluate a client’s wishes and needs to be able to come up with a treatment plan that is in line with all applicable laws and regulations. They must have strong people skills to be able to interact well with their clients and to resolve all possible concerns. Some acupuncturists are self-employed and run their own small business offices, while others work in healthcare facilities. In order to practice or get hired by clinics, state licensing as well as national certification.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncturists insert needles in specific locations on the body to properly distribute the energy force throughout the body. The insertion of the needles usually will create a warming sensation, known as tapping into the Qi. According to Chinese medicine, Qi is the energy that flows throughout the body and helps regulate the body’s functions. The needles are used to help clear the path in which the Qi might be blocked allowing proper energy flow to resume to that portion of the body.

To discover whether an education in acupuncture is right for you, you may very well take a career aptitude & personality test. This will help you make the right choices and avoid future disappointment.