Careers in Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine

Increasingly, students today are looking to the field of acupuncture and herbal medicine as a first career choice. There is now expanded awareness of the recognition of acupuncture as a separate profession.

Practitioners enjoy rewarding careers with competitive salaries and, flexible work schedules. Although many newly licensed practitioners go into solo practice, there are growing opportunities in integrated healthcare delivery organizations They work in a variety of clinical settings which including:

  • Hospitals, VA facilities, drug treatment and multi-specialty centers
  • Public health, family practice and sports medicine clinics
  • Long- and short-term rehabilitation centers
  • Nursing homes and outpatient geriatric or assisted living centers for seniors
  • Specialty practices (e.g. pediatric, obstetric)
  • Cancer and other specialty care centers
  • Community health general and special needs clinics (e.g. women’s health)

Practitioners have also been on the front line during traumatic events including treatment of emergency care workers at the site of the 9/11 disaster and Hurricane Katrina, drug users in addiction recovery groups, and veterans suffering from PTSD. In addition, acupuncture is now utilized on the battlefield for pain control and a recent movement has seen many practitioners focus on delivering services in community treatment rooms.

A Career that Focuses on the Whole Person

Acupuncture & herbal medicine practitioners approach patients from a holistic perspective. They take into account all aspects of their health, recognizing the interconnectedness of the mind, emotions, and body, as well as the environment. Practitioners in the U.S. typically combine a number of therapeutic interventions specifically for the individual patient.

Acupuncture & herbal medicine is used for chronic disease, prevention and wellness, and acute care. In 2003, a World Health Organization study, Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials, cited over 43 conditions that are treatable with acupuncture. See Learn about AM for more information. 

A Career in Integrative Healthcare

Integrative healthcare combines conventional Western medicine treatment options with complementary medicine practices in a coordinated fashion. This patient-focused approach to health care has become increasingly available as the benefits of integrative care are recognized. Many acupuncture & herbal medicine colleges offer students training to work in integrative healthcare settings along with internships in off-site community clinics.