Why Pursue a Career in Acupuncture?

Although acupuncture has been practiced for centuries, it has only recently gained acceptance in Western medicine. In the U.S. and many other parts of the world, holistic healthcare has been on the rise for the last decade. Acupuncture in particular has been studied and shown to be effective.

With more people turning to acupuncture, the field is growing and in need of skilled practitioners. But is a career as an acupuncturist the right choice for you? Why pursue a career in acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a Rewarding Career

If you enjoy helping people and care about the well-being of others, a career as an acupuncturist can be very rewarding.

Acupuncturists work closely with patients to create treatment plans, which gives them an opportunity to listen to their unique needs and challenges. You may be called to help treat a variety of conditions, including:

  • Pain
  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Depression
  • Infertility
  • Dysentery
  • Digestive issues
  • Dysmenorrhea

Helping others in need can be very gratifying, especially when patients see results from your sessions.

Acupuncture is in High Demand

Demand for acupuncture is on the rise, and will likely continue on this path for the foreseeable future. Pain is the top reason people seek out acupuncturists, and studies have shown that acupuncture can be effective for chronic pain.

In fact, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently made the decision to cover acupuncture services for Medicare recipients suffering from chronic lower back pain.

As acupuncture continues to gain acceptance in the medical community, demand for treatment will continue to rise.

Acupuncture is a Well-Paying Career

Although acupuncture is considered alternative medicine, the practice is becoming increasingly more accepted by mainstream medicine. In fact, many conventional hospitals and doctor’s offices now offer acupuncture services.

With greater acceptance in conventional medicine and a higher demand for acupuncture services, salaries for acupuncturists have risen.

The annual mean wage for acupuncturists, according to BLS, is as follows:

  • Washington, DC metro area: $139,630
  • Durham-Chapel Hill, NC metro area: $108,210
  • Portland, ME metro area: $86,890
  • Austin, TX metro area: $132,750
  • Southwestern Maine: $66,250
  • Arizona (nonmetropolitan areas): $72,210
  • South Georgia (nonmetropolitan areas): $137,240

In comparison, the national annual mean wage for all occupations is $56,310.

Acupuncturists Have Many Options for Employment

At one time, acupuncturists generally worked as solo practitioners, but as more patients look for integrative care, these professionals can now be found in a variety of healthcare settings.

As an acupuncturist, you have many options when it comes to employment:

  • Hospital acupuncturist: Acupuncturists now work in hospitals and community healthcare centers. They may work in pain clinics or as part of an integrative medicine program.
  • Private practitioner: Many acupuncturists choose to open their own private practices after graduating. Working as a private practitioner gives you more freedom in shaping your practice and other services that you wish to offer.
  • Integrative clinic practitioner: Integrative clinics are becoming increasingly popular as more patients look for natural and holistic health care options. In a clinical setting, acupuncturists may also work with chiropractors, physical therapists, massage therapists, nutritionists and other professionals to provide collaborative care.

Of course, some acupuncturists may also choose to go the teaching or research route. There are many opportunities for growth in this field, whether you want to be a hands-on practitioner or work behind the scenes to study the practice.

This article was written by an independent researcher. On matters of acupuncture, this article may not accurately represent the teachings of ITEA.

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