How to Become a Professional Acupuncturist

If you're currently considering studying Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, you may have some lingering questions about acupuncture school or the profession itself. As such, this post will be helpful to you as you learn more about this wonderful profession.

Becoming an Acupuncturist

In order to be legally employed as an Acupuncturist in the US, you will need to complete an accredited-educational program and pass a state licensing exam.


The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) administers the national board examinations for the profession.

Since most states, including Florida, govern Acupuncture through a State Licensing Board, it is imperative that you choose a school that is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM), which is the standard and accepted accreditation committee for AOM in the US.


In fact, accreditation maybe the most important factor in applying to an AOM program, since most states will not let you sit for the exam unless your program was completed at an ACAOM accredited college. There are currently 47 ACAOM approved schools in the US. In Florida, there are 6 acupuncture, including Acupuncture and Massage College.

Some colleges offer both a Masters and Doctoral level programs in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.

Acupuncture School Information and Educational Requirements

Currently, a Master’s degree is required to become a professional acupuncturists.

Different acupuncture schools will offer different degrees at this level with different names that reflect the focus of a particular program. Examples include Master of Science in Oriental Medicine (MSOM), Masters of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (MAcOM), Master of Traditional Chinese Medicine (MSTCM) and more.


Most programs do not require applicants to hold an undergraduate degree but do require a minimum of 60-credits from an accredited college before applying.

If you do not have the 60-credits, then you will have to complete some additional schooling before applying to an AOM program.

If you happen to be interested in AMC, we offer a pathway for those students who do have 60-credits and is designed to help students meet the credits requirements and allow them to transfer into the Master's program with some of the credits counting towards their Master's total.

Master’s or Doctoral Program?

Master's programs serve to introduce students to Oriental Medicine and to familiarize them with working in a medical clinical setting. They take an average of 4-years to complete, although some programs, including AMC's Master of Oriental Medicine, can be completed in 3-years.


Doctoral programs usually include the Master's curriculum but are geared towards specialization and research in Oriental Medicine (i.e. Psychiatric Oriental Medicine).

Doctoral programs take an average of 6 years to complete but vary on a program to program basis.

For those students that wish to enter the workforce sooner, a Master's degree is the ideal choice. For those that wish to conduct advanced research and do not mind the extra years of schooling, a doctoral program would be a better choice.


While you shouldn’t let money dictate your final school choice, it is important to consider the cost of the program and the market that you will be searching for a job in.

Time: How much time do you want to spend in a classroom setting as a student? Does the school offer different study paces for your program of interest?

Money: There are several financial questions that should evaluate when applying to programs: How much is the program going to cost? Does the school offer financial aid?

What does the job market look like in the area you want to practice in?

Remember no one can guarantee you a job. Many accredited schools will offer financial aid assistance. Some schools, including Acupuncture and Massage College in Miami, Florida, offer career services for current students and alumni.


Keep in mind that you will be spending several years and several thousand dollars at graduate school. It's probably in your best interest to choose a school that is a cultural and personality fit for you.

Career Prospects for Acupuncturists

Let's assume you're fully-committed to studying AOM. What do the long-term prospect the career field look like? Where can you find employment after graduation?

While there is no official government source that states the earnings for Acupuncturists in the US, the U.S. Department of Labor National Center for O*NET Development lists Acupuncturists under "Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners, All Other" and lists the median wage for that category at $70,690 a year.

The Council of Colleges for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM) indicates that the median annual income for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine licensees is $52,000, although some reported incomes exceed $100,000!

Additionally, job security looks promising. According to the U.S. Department of Labor National Center for O*NET Development, Acupuncture and related fields are expected to grow 10-14% between 2016 and 2026, which faster than the national average.

As acupuncture becomes more popular, the number of work environments also grows. For example, many Western hospitals hire acupuncturists to work in an integrative medical setting. Other acupuncturists choose the traditional route and work in an acupuncture clinic under an established acupuncturist. Others pursue to work in an educational environment, while some decide to go into business for themselves an open their own acupuncture clinic.


Regardless of where you study or which environment you choose to work in, remember that you will be carrying on a 2,000 year-old medical tradition that offers bodily and emotional healing to patients through your compassion and through your science, which treats them as complete human beings.

If you’re ready to learn more about this exciting career field, download our career guide below! You contact Acupuncture and Massage College at 305-595-9500 or email admissions at


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