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Acupuncturist

Acupuncturists insert needles into pressure points on clients’ bodies to help relieve everyday stresses, and improve their wellbeing.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: Variable average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll need to take a qualification that’s recognised by one of the professional organisations for acupuncture, like:

The British Acupuncture Accreditation Board (BAAB) lists courses that lead to membership of the BAcC.

Most BAAB-approved courses are degree level. To do a BAAB approved course you’ll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent, including a science subject
  • 2 A levels

Mature students may be considered on the basis of their work experience.

If you’re a qualified healthcare professional like a doctor or nurse, you may be exempt from certain parts of training or examinations. The British Medical Acupuncture Society has more information for healthcare professionals who practise acupuncture within their professional practice.

The BAAB has more information on becoming an acupuncturist.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • understanding and sensitivity
  • a logical approach to solving problems
  • self-awareness and emotional stability
  • coordination and a steady hand
  • listening skills

3. What you'll do

You’ll treat clients for conditions ranging from arthritis, circulatory problems and high blood pressure to migraine, depression and addiction.

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • taking a detailed history from clients
  • talking about issues surrounding their symptoms, like lifestyle, diet and emotions
  • diagnosing problems and deciding what action to take
  • selecting points on the body to be treated
  • inserting needles 
  • keeping records
  • referring clients to other medical practitioners

You might also use methods like: 

  • moxibustion (burning a dried herb above an acupuncture point)
  • cupping (using a vacuum cup on acupuncture points) 
  • electro-acupuncture (electrical energy to treat parts of the body)

4. Salary

Your salary will depend on the hours you work and the number of clients you see. 

You’ll usually charge £40 to £100 an hour.

With experience and a good reputation, you may see up to 30 clients per week.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually be self-employed. You may have to offer evening and weekend appointments to meet the needs of your patients.

You may work from your own home, an alternative therapy clinic, GP surgery or hospital. 

You may need a driving licence.

6. Career path and progression

With experience you could move into teaching or research.

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Last updated: 27 September 2017