If you are not squeamish about needles and believe in the healing powers of an ancient Chinese form of treatment, a career as an acupuncturist could be something to consider. In this profession, you will have the chance to give relief to patients suffering from different kinds of pain and illness by inserting needles in different points of the skin.
Just like a western doctor, you meet with patients to get their medical history and the symptoms they are experiencing so that you can come up with a treatment plan. You also explain the procedure to your patient prior to providing treatment and monitor his progress.
Since acupuncture is categorized as an alternative medicine practice, you will have to possess patience, especially when it comes to explaining the method to those who doubt its efficacy. You also need to possess manual precision and accuracy inasmuch as the needles have to be inserted at specific points in the body to achieve the desired results. Together with this, you should also have keen eyesight a genuine desire to really help patients get well.
Why Become An Acupuncturist
There are a number of reasons to become an acupuncturist. For those who don’t believe that Western medicine does not provide all the answers to modern illnesses, a career as an acupuncturist gives another mode of treatment to heal diseases. Alternative medical systems, acupuncture included, is also a fast-growing career as more people get to experience its healing powers. This translates to more employment opportunities for acupuncturists in the next several years.
Acupuncturist Work Environment
Acupuncturists typically work fulltime in their own private practices, in alternative medicine clinics or hospitals. Their work environment is comfortable and sanitary. Those who have their own practices set their own clinic hours. However, they may work evenings or weekends to treat patients who won’t be able to get off work at any other time.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics does not give data on the mean annual wages of acupuncturists so there are no official salary figures for this career. The closest comparable figure is that of chiropractors, another career in alternative medicine. The Occupational Employment and Wages report of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that in May 2013, the mean annual wage of chiropractors is $78,410.
Acupuncturist Career Outlook
The job outlook looks good for acupuncturists. Although there are no official employment rate projections from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics to support this, the fact that more insurance firms are giving coverage for acupuncture serves as proof of the positive growth of the industry. The projected employment rate of chiropractors, also an alternative medicine career, can be used as a benchmark in the absence of official figures. From 2012 to 2022, the employment of chiropractors is set at 15 percent, a rate that is faster than the average of all job types.
Before one can become an acupuncturist, he needs to hold a bachelor’s degree in acupuncture as well as a master’s degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. The student must get their education from a program that is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Each state has its own requirement for licensing but it generally involves passing an exam in addition to other requirements.