Healthcare & Medical
An acupuncturist provides treatment of symptoms and disorders using needles and small electrical currents.
Bachelor's degree + professional registration
What does an Acupuncturist do?
An acupuncturist provides treatment of symptoms and disorders using needles and small electrical currents. Acupuncturists may provide massage treatment, and other preventive treatments.
As an acupuncturist, your day-to-day work would include:
- taking a detailed history from clients
- talking about issues surrounding their symptoms, such as lifestyle, diet and emotions
- diagnosing and deciding what action to take
- selecting specific points on the body to be treated
- inserting needles according to the level of stimulation required
- keeping records of treatment given to each patient.
Your clients could include those with conditions ranging from arthritis, circulatory problems and high blood pressure to migraine, depression and addiction.
As well as inserting needles, you may also use methods such as moxibustion (burning a dried herb above an acupuncture point), cupping (using a vacuum cup on acupuncture points) and electro-acupuncture (electrical energy to treat parts of the body).
Key skills and interests
To become an acupuncturist, you would need:
- a keen interest in biological sciences and complementary therapies
- understanding and sensitivity
- good communication and listening skills
- a logical approach to solving problems
- self-awareness and emotional stability
- good coordination and a steady hand.
Working hours and conditions
Most acupuncturists are self-employed. This means that you could choose your own working hours, although you may have to offer evening and weekend appointments to meet the needs of your patients.
You may work from your own home, from an alternative therapy clinic or sometimes at a GP surgery or hospital. It would be helpful to have a drivers’ licence as you may carry out treatments at several locations, including clients' homes.
How to become an Acupuncturist?
Entry Level Education
To become an acupuncturist, you usually have to complete a degree in health science with a major in Chinese medicine. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent. English, biology, and chemistry would be appropriate subjects to study prior to university.
Before undertaking clinical placements, students need to obtain a National Police Certificate, a Provide First Aid Certificate and relevant immunisations. Depending on the State in which you are employed, you may be required to undergo an aged-care sector employment screening assessment through the relevant State Government department. If you are working with children, you would be required to complete the equivalent of a Working with Children check or disability services employment screening.
To work as a Chinese medicine practitioner, you must be registered with the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia. In order to gain registration, you must fulfil a variety of registration standards.
Employment for acupuncturists is projected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations.
Natural medicine is a growing area generally, and this increasing acceptance of therapies that are either alternative or complementary to conventional Western medicine will see increased opportunities for natural therapists of all types, including acupuncturists.