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Acupuncture Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

Acupuncture training is offered at alternative medicine centers and other schools of natural healing, as well as some traditional universities. An acupuncture course of study typically takes three years to complete and results in a master's degree in acupuncture. However, doctoral programs in acupuncture are also available, and this may be a factor in choosing a school.

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Acupuncture programs require both classroom study and hands-on clinical experience with patients. Degree candidates study the history of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, as well as subjects such as channel or meridian therapy, treatment planning and techniques, point location and acupuncture theory.

10 Schools with Acupuncture Programs

Acupuncture programs are commonly offered at the master's degree level, but other degree options may also be available at some schools. Here are few schools across the country that offer acupuncture programs:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition Info (2015-2016)*
University of Bridgeport Bridgeport, CT 4-year, Private Master's $14,220
Bastyr University Kenmore, WA 4-year, Private Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $24,198 (undergrad); $24,200 (graduate)
Northwestern Health Sciences University Bloomington, MN 4-year, Private Master's $11,636
New York Chiropractic College Seneca Falls, NY 4-year, Private Master's $13,419
New York College of Health Professions Syosset, NY 4-year, Private Bachelor's, Master's $14,226 (undergrad), $16,956 (graduate)
National University of Health Sciences Lombard, IL 4-year, Private Master's $17,384
South Baylo University Anaheim, CA 4-year, Private Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $7,650 (undergrad), $9,850 (graduate)
Southern California University of Health Sciences Whittier, CA 4-year, Private Master's, Doctoral $20,418
Maryland University of Integrative Health Laurel, MD 4-year, Private Master's $18,230
Oregon College of Oriental Medicine Portland, OR 4-year, Private Master's, Doctoral $25,616

Sources:*National Center for Education Statistics

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School Selection Criteria

When choosing an acupuncture program, here are few things to consider when researching schools:

  • Students who want to focus specifically on acupuncture can choose to earn a Master of Science in Acupuncture, while those who want to pursue broader studies may choose acupuncture as part of a Master of Science program in traditional Chinese medicine or acupuncture and Oriental medicine.
  • Students who want to learn about both Western and Oriental medicine should find out whether both are incorporated into the program's curriculum.
  • It is important to find out whether the school is accredited, since most states require acupuncturists to graduate from a degree program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
  • Students who have scheduling constraints may want to find out if coursework is available online.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

While it is not usually possible to earn a bachelor's degree specifically in acupuncture, aspiring acupuncturists may choose a major in a related field, which can provide them with the educational background they need for graduate-level acupuncture studies. There are also acupuncture schools that offer degree completion programs that confer a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Human Biology, as well as dual-degree bachelor's/master's programs that lead to a master's in Oriental medicine and a BS in Nutrition or a Bachelor of Professional Studies.

Master's Degree Programs

The most common educational option for aspiring acupuncturists is a master's degree. These programs prepare graduates for the national licensure examination that they must pass in order to practice. In addition to lecture-based biomedical courses, students observe other acupuncturists in clinical settings and gain hands-on experience in the field through supervised internship opportunities. For students who want to study acupuncture within a broader graduate program, master's degrees in Oriental medicine and integrative health are also available at some schools. Most of these programs take three years to complete.

Doctoral Degree Programs

Some schools offer training for acupuncturist licensure exams through doctoral programs. Students may earn a doctorate specifically in the field or choose a broader degree that incorporates Oriental medicine studies as well. In total, these programs last for four to five years, and they provide a comprehensive overview of both holistic medicine and key topics within Western medicine. As in master's degree programs, students get real-world experience through supervised internships in integrative health settings.

Relevant acupuncture programs are available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Students can get training through holistic medicine-focused institutions or traditional universities.

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