Becoming an Acupuncturist? An Inside Look at Acupuncture Jobs

Whether you’re becoming an acupuncturist or you just want an inside look into acupuncture jobs, don’t miss this job description! These career tips are from a self-employed acupuncturist who is happy to share her education, work, and salary information.

“If you want to be a self-employed acupuncturist, you have to be completely dedicated to the medicine and learn all you can about managing a business,” says Kristen Burris, the Founder, President, and Medical Director of American Acupuncture Center. “You may be the best acupuncturist and herbalist in the world, but if you can’t promote your business, then you can’t reach patients.”

Burris is a board certified, licensed acupuncturist and herbalist who lives and works in Eagle, Idaho.

Here, she describes how acupuncture helps people heal from everything from endocrine imbalances to emotional disorders — and offers advice for acupuncturists who are looking for work.

Acupuncturist Job Description

“My primary responsibility is taking care of patients,” says Burris. “My secondary responsibilities include ordering supplements, cleaning the office, and marketing materials. I am the director of marketing and share the responsibilities of front desk operations with my husband.”

What is an Acupuncturist’s Salary?

Burris says the pay for natural health practitioners varies greatly, but a successful, hard-working, full-time acupuncturist and herbalist can expect to make $60,000 to $120,000 annually.

The Best Parts of a Career in Acupuncture

“Nothing compares to the joy I share with my patients when a child is created in a woman struggling to get or stay pregnant,” says Burris. “Life is precious and to be a part of that success is overwhelming! It makes my hard work and disappointments worth it.”

Burris says she also enjoys facilitating emotional and physical freedom in patients who have been suffering, who felt like they had no more options. “Enlightening patients about the natural health options for all their health problems is truly a blessing. It makes work feel effortless and fulfilling.”

The Downside of Becoming a Self-Employed Acupuncturist

“I dislike ordering supplies and marketing the business,” says Burris. “Ordering supplies is mundane work that is boring but essential. Marketing my business takes me away from my love, which is helping people feel better. Yet, marketing is an essential aspect of meeting more patients to help heal them.”

The Biggest Surprise About Acupuncture Jobs

Burris says her patients are shocked at how quickly they feel better, and they find it mind- boggling that acupuncture is a complete system of medicine. “It surprises them to learn that acupuncturists can treat any health problem except for three: emergencies, cancer and epilepsy,” she says. “We do treat side effects of those aliments and the healing potential.”

Acupuncturists, herbalists, and other naturopaths address just about any health problem including fertility, menstrual irregularities, headaches, digestive problems, pain, emotional disorders, injury, endocrine imbalances, weak immunity, respiratory disorders, gastro-intestinal problems, genito-urinary problems and musculoskeletal problems.

Career Tips for Acupuncturists

“You have to be completely dedicated to the medicine and learn all you can about managing a business,” says Burris. “You may be the best acupuncturist or self-employed naturopath in the world, but if you can’t promote your business, then you can’t reach patients.”

Burris adds that your hoped-for take-home salary as an acupuncturist must be twice as much as you actually make. That is, if you want to have a take-home salary of  $100,000, then you must actually earn $200,000 in revenue.

A related career is in laser therapy; laser light therapists combine acupuncture with laser therapy.

If you have any questions or thoughts on working as an acupuncturist or herbalist, please comment below.

To learn more about a natural health career, read this job description of a massage practitioner.

Kristen Lohman Burris, L.Ac., M.S.T.O.M., Dip. Ac., was voted “Top Doc 2010” and  is a nationally recognized Acupuncturist and Herbalist who has been featured in USA Today, Woman’s Day, Parenting Magazine, Natural Health Magazine, National Public Radio (NPR) and KUSI TV News. To learn more, visit

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