Growing Opportunities for Acupuncture Professionals
Acupuncture is becoming an integrated part of Western healthcare, which means more job opportunities for trained professionals. Here's a list of some of them.
The field of acupuncture will see sustained job growth as traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) becomes increasingly integrated into Western healthcare systems. Licensed acupuncturists are seeing more and more professional opportunities, and acupuncture career options continue to expand in variety. An increased emphasis on treating the whole patient and on treatments for pain beyond medicine have led to acupuncturists becoming more recognized as members of patient care teams.
Graduates of the New England School of Acupuncture (NESA) have gone on to meaningful and rewarding healthcare careers. Here are some paths that you can take as a NESA grad.
Many acupuncturists aim to open a private practice upon graduation from acupuncture school. Advantages of private practice include shaping the style of practice most suited to your interests or your community’s needs and incorporating herbal medicine into your practice. Entrepreneurial graduates from NESA have built busy practices across the United States.
Another great option is to seek a position at an established acupuncture clinic looking to expand their services. Busy practices hire associate acupuncturists who earn salary or a portion of the clinic’s earnings. An alternative is to rent space from a busy practice, which often allows new practitioners to share costs for office management and benefit from referrals.
As acupuncture becomes more established in healthcare and the evidence base for acupuncture grows, demand is increasing for acupuncturists who can work in hospitals and community health centers. Acupuncturists can work in the integrative medicine programs or pain clinics of some of the country’s top hospitals. These programs typically incorporate acupuncture with other modalities like yoga, massage, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and nutrition. This option allows you to work with other healthcare providers in a dynamic, interprofessional environment.
Integrative Healthcare Clinic Practitioner
Integrative healthcare clinics are becoming a popular new model for health services delivery across the country. In an integrative clinic, an acupuncturist works with other practitioners such as chiropractors, naturopaths, nutritionists, psychologist/psychiatrists, physical therapists, massage therapists, etc. This patient-centered approach facilitates access to integrative options as patients can go to a single location to obtain care. Practitioners can share patient records to ensure collaborative care. Working cooperatively, these integrative practitioners can share practice costs and approach patient care from a teamwork perspective.
As the acupuncture field grows, so does the need for passionate teachers of the practice. There are more than 50 acupuncture schools in the United States, giving graduates the opportunity to share their acupuncture passion by teaching. While a master’s degree is currently required to seek licensure as an acupuncturist, many traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) schools offer doctoral degrees, designed to add advanced clinical specialty training and to provide an avenue to obtain prestigious teaching jobs at the nation’s top schools. This environment can also help you get support for conducting research in the field.
As research funding expands for studies on acupuncture’s role in pain management, more acupuncturists are participating in or conducting research. In particular, funding is growing to support research on acupuncture’s contribution to addressing the current opioid crisis.
Interested in pursuing an acupuncture degree at NESA? Learn more about our acupuncture programs.
Other Online Resources:
- Acupuncture Today
- Acupuncture Society of Massachusetts
- AAAOM (American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine)
- AAMA (American Academy of Medical Acupuncture)
- ACAOM (Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine)
- CCAOM (Council of Colleges for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine)
- NCCIH (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
- NCCAOM (National Certification Committee of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine)
- American Acupuncture Council
- NQA (National Qigong Association)
- SCORE – free business advice
- BNI (Business Network International)