Acupuncture, the use of needles and herbs to assist the body in freeing itself from disease, illness, and pain, has been in practice for the last 3,000 years in Eastern and Chinese medicine. Practitioners of this skill insert needles into hundreds of points of the body that lie along energy meridians, releasing blockages of energy and blood. Often, the treatment is combined with the use of herbs created using natural elements from plants and animals that assist the body in maintaining the balance of energy (or chi) as corrected by the needle treatments. The National Institutes of Health report that some 4 million Americans receive acupuncture.
Students preparing for a career in acupuncture traditionally attend Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine across the United States, completing programs that last between three and four years, leading to the designation of master's or a Doctor of Acupuncture. Entry requirements vary by acupuncture school, and many require applications to hold a bachelor's degree or two-year college degree. Most states require acupuncturists to be licensed by National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
Salaries for gradates of acupuncture schools vary widely based on the state or city in which they practice. Many acupuncturists are self-employed and can set their own rates, which can range from $40 to $70 per hour, according to the American Association of Oriental Medicine.
Learn more about becoming an acupuncturist:
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