When deciding on a career path, there are many things to consider. Will it provide work life balance, a sense of purpose, a sound income, a path of opportunity? Once you narrow down your options, another aspect to consider is how much will it cost for the education or degree to practice in that career.
Fortunately, there are several occupations that provide all these benefits, through schooling that is comparable to many graduate degrees. One such profession is acupuncture.
Graduates of accredited acupuncture colleges typically receive a Masters degree in Oriental Medicine and are then ready to apply for and complete the licensing exam of the state they want to practice in. (It’s important to graduate from a school that is approved by that state’s licensing board.) Once licensed, acupuncturists are considered primary care physicians in many states.
How much does acupuncture school cost depends on the price of credit hours, books and materials, and living expenses while you’re going to school.
Credit hours. According to the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine:
A professional Oriental medicine curriculum must consist of at least 47 semester credits (705 hours) in Oriental medical theory, diagnosis and treatment techniques in acupuncture and related studies; 30 semester credits (450 hours) in didactic Oriental herbal studies; 29 semester credits (870 hours) in integrated acupuncture and herbal clinical training; 34 semester credits (510 hours) in biomedical clinical sciences; and 6 semester credits (90 hours) in counseling, communication, ethics, and practice management.
The cost of an accredited acupuncture program varies throughout the country, with a general range of $30,000 to $40,000 for the entire program of training. Many programs base their tuition on a cost per credit hour. At AMC in Miami, the cost per credit hour of a Master of Oriental Medicine degree is $278.15.
Books and materials. Another expense to be prepared for in acupuncture school is for general supplies and fees, including books, clinic fees, herb kits, and student malpractice insurance. There also may be additional nominal fees for the college such as application fees, exam fees, and fees for lockers and ID cards. Most accredited school offer financial aid to eligible students.
Acupuncture programs range from three to four years, and students attend full or part time based on their budget and schedules. After graduation, licensed acupuncturists can quickly begin to recoup the cost of their programs. According to one source, a licensed acupuncturist one year out of school can expect to make $45,000 annually or more. That income could grow to $100,000 annually after five years of practice and to $200,000 to $300,000 within 10 years of practice, depending on the acupuncturist’s skill level and business knowledge.
If you’re ready to learn more about a career in acupuncture and start pursuing comprehensive and accredited education toward helping people, download our free guide below.