Applicants to master's programs in acupuncture generally must have a bachelor's degree in a healthcare or alternative medicine field of study, but some programs will admit students with an associate's degree. In these programs, students learn to identify and classify acupuncture points. These master's degree programs typically take 3 years to complete and include clinical coursework and internships.
Graduates are eligible to take the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) licensing examination and are prepared to become independent acupuncture providers after completing any other state-specific requirements.
Master's Degree in Acupuncture
While effective diagnosis and treatment is based on the principles of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), students also learn about Western pathology to work more effectively with other health care professionals and better understand Western medical terminology. Clinical coursework teaches students essential skills for dealing with patient care, such as consultation and counseling techniques, effective interpersonal communication, professional conduct and practice management. Finally, because Oriental medicine is holistic, students also learn about nutrition and herbal medicine.
In addition to clinical work, classroom work covers:
- Acupuncture therapies
- Fundamentals of traditional Chinese medicine
- TCM history and philosophy
- Auricular therapy and scalp acupuncture
- Botanical medicine
- Palpation and massage
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that acupuncture is continuing to grow in popularity. According to the website, PayScale.com, acupuncturists made between $29,129 and $102,698 in January of 2016, with the median salary at around $48,735.
While obtaining a master's degree in acupuncture is a time commitment of 3 years, it will pay off with top earners making over $102,000 per year. In addition to the education time commitment, students will also need to pass the NCCAOM licensing exam.