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Acupressure Certification and Certificate Programs

Certification is required to be an acupressure therapist. Before you can take one of two available national certification exams, you must complete between 600 and 800 hours of coursework and training at massage schools or other independent institutions.

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Essential Information

Acupressure can be thought of as acupuncture without needles. Those wishing to pursue a career in acupressure and work as an Asian bodywork therapist (ABT) are required to pass national and state licensing exams. National exams are available from either the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine or the American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia. State-level requirements vary. Preparation programs for these exams are offered through independent institutions or massage schools.

  • Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED; previous education in anatomy or other health-related studies recommended
  • Program Length: Between 600 and 800 hours, i.e. several months or up to one year

Certificate in Acupressure

Because these programs are largely vocational, most don't have prerequisites beyond a high school diploma or GED; however, most schools recommend that students have a background in science, statistics, anatomy, or even pre-medicine. Health-related associate's degrees also complement these certificates. Courses educate students on the body, general massage techniques, Eastern medicine and business. Some programs supplement these skills with training in first aid, CPR, Tai Chi, or kinesiology. Core course and elective topics include:

  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Business
  • Diagnostic techniques

Popular Career Options

Certified acupressure professionals most commonly start their own practices; however, a growing number of hospitals are beginning to incorporate acupressure practices to either complement traditional treatment or serve as alternative treatment. Some other career options might include:

  • Working in health spas
  • Working in hospitals
  • Working in international clinics
  • Acupressure or Eastern medicine research
  • Teaching
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