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How to Become an Acupuncturist?

Unraveling the Path to Becoming a Skilled Acupuncturist: A Comprehensive Guide.

Published By Team SetMyCareer
Last Updated: 15 June 2024
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In this Career Outline


Introduction to Acupuncturist

I'm afraid of needles, except acupuncture needles. - Catherine O'Hara

What is Acupuncture? In a world where holistic and alternative medicine practices are gaining increasing recognition, the art of acupuncture stands as a time-honored tradition that has captivated the minds and bodies of countless individuals seeking natural healing. As an acupuncturist, you have the potential to embark on a rewarding career path that combines ancient wisdom with modern scientific understanding, guiding patients toward harmony and well-being.

If you're passionate about holistic health, have a deep appreciation for the intricacies of the human body, and possess a desire to make a positive impact on people's lives, then the journey to becoming an acupuncturist might be the perfect fit for you. In this comprehensive guide, we'll unravel the steps, educational requirements, certification processes, and career opportunities that await those who choose to embrace this fascinating and rewarding profession.

Steps to Become an Acupuncturist:


Pursue a Bachelor's Degree:The first step on your path to becoming an acupuncturist is to complete a bachelor's degree program. While the specific major is not strictly defined, many aspiring acupuncturists choose to study subjects like biology, anatomy, physiology, or other health-related fields, as these provide a solid foundation for understanding the human body and its intricate systems.


Enroll in an Accredited Master's Program: After obtaining your bachelor's degree, you'll need to enroll in a master's program in acupuncture or Oriental medicine from an accredited institution. These programs typically take three to four years to complete and combine comprehensive coursework with extensive clinical training.


Complete Clinical Training: Hands-on clinical experience is an essential component of your acupuncture education. During your master's program, you'll be required to complete a specified number of supervised clinical training hours, where you'll have the opportunity to apply your knowledge and hone your skills in a real-world setting.


Obtain Licensure and Certification: The final step towards becoming a licensed acupuncturist is to pass the required national certification exams and obtain a license in your state. The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) offers several certification programs, including the Acupuncture Certification Program and the Oriental Medicine Certification Program.

Eligibility Criteria

Eligibility Criteria Description
Eligibility 50% aggregate from a recognized institution in 12th
Educational Background A high school diploma or equivalent.
Undergraduate Degree A bachelor’s degree in health sciences, biology, or related fields.
Postgraduate Degree Enrollment in a Master's or Doctoral program in Acupuncture or Oriental Medicine.
Entrance Exams Some acupuncture programs may require standardized entrance exams, particularly in regions where professional licensure and certifications are stringent.

  • Must possess at least 50% aggregate from a recognized institution in 12th, from any board PUC/CBSE/ICSE/ISC, etc. However, the cut-off margin varies with the selection process of different colleges
  • A Bachelor's degree in any field can be beneficial, but a degree in Acupuncture can provide a more effective reach in helping you connect with your clients.
  • There is no Entrance Exam After 12th conducted to validate the performance in Acupuncture.
  • One must acquire a B.Sc in Acupuncture or certification in a recognized establishment to become an Acupuncturist. This is a basic qualification you must require to enroll in this line of work.
  • An M.Sc or PGD in Acupuncture can also prove to be helpful while looking for a higher degree and extensive learning.

Not eligible to pursue this career?

Find out different career options based on your current academic accomplishments. Enquire with our career experts and build a roadmap to your career success!

Tasks to perform as an Acupuncturist:

Individuals' differential diagnoses, as well as baseline nutrition and wellness statistics, should be collected

To determine diagnostics based on Oriental medicinal principles, examine physical observations and illness backgrounds.

Considering Conventional medicine processes while assessing your health, communicating with your wellbeing provider, and making treatment transfers.

Analyze available procedures and then, if required, suggest additional or different therapies to help encourage, recover, or preserve well-being.

Establish and follow proper standards and processes in the areas of quality, safety, the atmosphere, and disease management

Knowledge & Skills Required

Acupuncturists need a diverse set of competencies to excel in their roles. Below are the essential knowledge areas and skill sets required for success in this field:

Knowledge Required
understanding of the human body’s structure and functions, including organ systems, muscles, and nervous systems. In-depth knowledge of TCM concepts such as Qi (energy flow), meridians (energy pathways), yin and yang, and the five elements.
Detailed understanding of specific acupuncture points, their locations, and the meridian systems they are part of. Insight into how diseases affect the body’s function and how these can be addressed through acupuncture
Proficiency in TCM diagnostic methods like pulse diagnosis, tongue analysis, and understanding of symptomatic patterns. Knowledge of various herbs used in TCM, their properties, and how they complement acupuncture treatments.
Skills Required
Needling Techniques Communication Skills
Patient Assessment and Diagnosis Empathy and Interpersonal Skills
Manual Dexterity Holistic Health Approach
Time Management Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving

The Knowlegde and Skills don't intrigue you?

The reason is that your interests don't align with this career. Identify your interests and match them with careers that require those skills. This alignment will help you grow and succeed in your career faster than you might expect!

Job Roles Offered for an Acupuncturist:

Once you procure the required qualifications for becoming an Acupuncturist, a myriad of options are open to you. There are multiple projects you can undertake throughout this line of work, and there are Best courses after 12th and many other fields you can branch out to as well.


Chiropractors specialize in treating neuromusculoskeletal issues using chiropractic adjustments, physical therapy, and sometimes ultrasound. They alleviate stiffness and pain and often run solo practices or work in specialized fields like sports medicine. To practice, they need a state license. Strong communication and organizational skills are crucial to make patients comfortable and manage treatments effectively. They also require good business management skills to ensure smooth clinic operations.

Massage Therapist:

Massage therapists guide clients in choosing the most beneficial types of massage, ensuring treatments are safe for both the therapist and the client. They take detailed medical histories and consider any relevant injuries or conditions. They work in various settings, such as resorts, universities, and rehabilitation centers. Effective communication skills and the ability to maintain physical stamina are essential.

Clinic Manager:

Clinic managers oversee the daily operations of medical facilities, providing organizational support, handling staff recruitment and training, and coordinating patient care. They often start as Medical Office Assistants and need strong organizational and communication skills to keep the clinic running smoothly.

Naturopathic Physician:

Naturopathic physicians combine modern medical practices with natural and traditional remedies, focusing on holistic and complementary medicine. They treat underlying conditions and enhance the body's natural healing abilities, often preferring natural remedies over pharmaceuticals. This role involves integrating conventional and alternative treatments to promote overall wellness.

Private Practice Acupuncturist:

Establish your own acupuncture clinic, offering personalized care and building a loyal client base. Manage all aspects of running a successful practice, from marketing to financial operations.

Clinic or Hospital-based Acupuncturist:

Work in clinics or hospitals, collaborating with medical professionals to provide integrative care. Participate in research studies and contribute to advancing integrative medicine practices.

Integrative Medicine Practitioner:

Combine acupuncture with other complementary therapies to provide holistic care. Work alongside doctors, chiropractors, and therapists to address physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

Acupuncture Educator or Researcher:

Teach aspiring acupuncturists, develop curriculum, and inspire future practitioners as an educator. Contribute to scientific understanding through clinical studies and research projects.

Wellness and Spa Acupuncturist:

Provide acupuncture treatments for relaxation, stress relief, and overall well-being in spas, resorts, and wellness centers. Incorporate modalities like cupping and herbal remedies.

Sports Medicine Acupuncturist:

Work with trainers and therapists to develop treatment plans for athletes using acupuncture. Aid in injury recovery, pain management, and performance enhancement.

Not sure where you fit in?

With the wide variety of careers and job roles available, pinpointing the best option for you can be challenging. Thorough analysis and dedicated sessions can provide clarity on what to study, which industry and role to pursue, and the most suitable career path to follow.

Career Opportunities for an Acupuncturist:

Acupuncturists can opt for various fields of work in the companies listed below:

Spa Staff.com Healthonify Westin Hotels & Resorts
The University of Vermont Medical Center CITYMD National Staffing Solutions
Ochsner Health Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospita

Colleges Offering Courses in Acupuncture:

Singhania University, Jhunjhunu Maharishi Aurobindo Subharti Institute of Naturopathy and Yogic Sciences, Meerut
National Institute of Naturopathy, Pune Singhania University, Jhunjhunu
YBN University, Ranchi Himalayan University, Itanagar
Indian Board of Alternative Medicines, Kolkata Tamil Nadu Physical Education And Sports University, Chennai
Swami Vivekanand Subharti University (SVSU), Meerut Annamalai University Distance Education (AUDDE), Annamalai

End Note

Becoming an acupuncturist is a journey that combines ancient wisdom with modern healthcare practices, offering a fulfilling career path for those passionate about holistic healing. If you're ready to embark on this rewarding journey, SetMyCareer is here to guide you along your career goals, providing expert Career counselling for students after 12th and support every step of the way.