How to Become a Acupuncturist
Do you want to help heal people and relieve their pain? Are you interested in working in a therapeutic environment? Then you could find just what you are looking for in a career as an acupuncturist. Explore this unique and interesting career below to see if it’s right for you.
What Does an Acupuncturist Do?
Acupuncturists help relieve pain, reduce stress and promote healing through inserting fine needles in particular pressure points in the body. It is based on traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and is used today as an alternative or complementary medicine to be used for a variety of ailments.
Acupuncturists treat clients holistically, offering an open, friendly and therapeutic environment and catering treatment plans to the clients needs. As an acupuncturist, you will love helping people and have the natural ability to put people at ease.
Acupuncturists use acupuncture as well as other complementary and alternative medicines in order to help relieve pain, stress and tension in the body. It is used following a medical diagnosis for physical illnesses and ailments, but can also be used for stress and anxiety.
Acupuncture itself relieves pain and promotes healing in the body by inserting fine needles into different areas. The sensory nerves and muscles in these areas then get stimulated which releases endorphins (reducing pain and stress) and prompts the body to heal itself. Based on ancient Chinese medicine, acupuncture takes a holistic approach to healing, viewing pain and discomfort as the body being out of balance with pressure points in these areas needing to be targeted to rebalance the body.
Acupuncturists also do a range of other treatments to help reduce pain and discomfort, and they work holistically. Acupuncture is an aspect of Chinese herbal medicine, which is a part of TCM, and includes acupuncture, massage, dietary advice and exercise.
Some daily duties of an acupuncturist include:
How Much do Acupuncturists Earn?
Acupuncturists work independently, for private practices, private hospitals or for the NHS, and how much you earn will depend on where you work as well as your experience. Typically, you will charge per hour, and this rate can vary depending on your experience and reputation.
As with any work that uses an hourly rate, it can be difficult to predict a typical yearly figure, however most medical-related roles can see practitioners potentially earn a minimum of £25,000 per year.
What Qualifications are Needed to Become an Acupuncturist?
There are a few different ways to qualify as an acupuncturist and in order to become certified you will have to complete a course accredited by one of the acupuncture certification awarding bodies. Before you embark on an acupuncture qualification course however, there are also shorter, online courses such as the Medical Acupuncture Certification which will provide essential knowledge and help you secure a place on an acupuncture certification course.
The British Acupuncture Accreditation Board (BAAB) has a list of accredited qualification courses from colleges across the UK who provide courses which mean that you will become a certified acupuncturist upon completion. These courses include licentiate (certificate) courses as well as bachelor’s degrees and master’s degree courses. The most common route to becoming an acupuncturist is by attending a course accredited by the BAAB themselves.
What Are the Entry Requirements for an Acupuncture Certification Course?
Entry level courses such as the Medical Acupuncture Certification require no prior knowledge or work experience. Some acupuncture schools have different requirements, however most qualification courses such as the licentiate and degree programs often have no official entry requirements, but they highly value any relevant academic qualifications or work experience.
Having prior knowledge of an element of biology or medicine can help you to hit the ground running, but these aren’t prerequisites. They also frequently have people who already have degrees or qualifications in other areas, and often these can complement acupuncture courses, particularly if it is in healthcare or the sciences.
What Skills Do I Need to Become an Acupuncturist?
There are a range of skills needed for a career in acupuncture, including:
Do You Need Work Experience to Become an Acupuncturist?
To practice as a professional acupuncturist, you’ll need an acupuncture license. You can demonstrate your clinical training which will be undertaken during your accredited course in order to attain this. Experience or time spent learning in a clinical setting either at an acupuncture practice, hospital or by working under the expertise of a private acupuncture practitioner can also be used as evidence.
If you have yet to begin your acupuncture journey, then gaining work experience before you do is also a great idea. Shadowing an acupuncturist for just a couple of weeks can help you gain insight into the daily duties, demonstrate your dedication to this career and help you see whether this is the right career for you. Other work in clinical settings can also be beneficial, as you will gain valuable experience of caring for clients and working in a medical environment.
Career Prospects for Acupuncturists
The majority of professional acupuncturists are self employed with their own practice, and therefore set their own hours, rates and working times. Because of this, there is ample opportunity to build a career as a successful acupuncturist. You could run your own acupuncture practice, branch out into other holistic medicine practices or explore teaching and research opportunities.
Want to find out more and see how you can get started in this exciting career field? Explore courses and find out how we can help you get started on your education journey today.
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