A Doctor of Acupuncture (D.Ac., D.Acu.) program can be taken completely online or on a hybrid format. In an on-campus setup. D.Ac. or D.Acu. coursework and training within the classroom setting center on a theoretical foundation. The program also fosters community engagement through actual sessions with patients.

A D.Acu. degree may be geared toward becoming an acupuncturist; however, pursuing it is a major generally advances your career in the field of traditional medicine.

What does an Acupuncturist do?

In the contemporary world, an acupuncturist is a medical practitioner who relieves a patient’s physical pain and stresses through stimulating specific points in the body. An acupuncturist is highly skilled in Traditional Chinese Medicine, an alternative form of medicine recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The practice, which is considered safe and non-invasive involves the insertion of specialized needles to “acupuncture points”. By stimulating these body points, the acupuncturist balances the flow of “Qi” (Chi) or the life force of energy. These principles are also rooted in an understanding of the nervous system from the Western medicine perspective. Western medicine affirms that the insertion of needles triggers the release of hormones which will promote a person’s physical and mental well-being.

What sort of accreditation should I look for in a school?

The Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) is an essential accreditation body for acupuncture at a national level. Regional accreditation bodies like Western Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and Higher Learning Commission (HLC) may secondarily calibrate the quality of acupuncture programs.

How do I earn my Doctor of Acupuncture (D.Ac., D.Acu.) degree?

Many schools that specialize in Oriental and alternative medical degrees offer doctorate programs in Acupuncture. If you wish to enroll in such a program, you need at least a Master’s Degree in Acupuncture or any related field. Coursework and training usually reach four years, or around 13 trimesters or 8 semesters.

Some acupuncture schools have dedicated programs for bachelor’s degree holders who wish to finish both master and doctorate degrees in 5 to 6 years. Other colleges prioritize the admission of current acupuncture practitioners to their transitional programs instead of inexperienced students.

While a Master’s Degree in Acupuncture is the minimum educational requirement for practice, a D.Acu degree is necessary for the improvement of medical theory and practice of the discipline. Most accredited institutions require at least two years of study at the baccalaureate level.

Doctor of Acupuncture coursework involves rigorous exposure to clinical experience. Here you can observe actual acupuncturists impaling ultra-thin needles on the right spots. Your supervisor will oversee your practice on actual patients. Lectures and hands-on training consist of a long survey of different clinical approaches, e.g. Chinese and Western nutrition therapy, qi gong, cupping, gua sha, moxibustion, scalp acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, and tuina.

Doctor of Acupuncture programs offers several opportunities to connect with diverse backgrounds through community outreach programs. A D.Acu graduate student may also opt to specialize in a specific population cohort. For example, you can focus on developing new acupuncture approaches that will serve the needs of women. Current trends of D.Acu programs draw in the integration of biomedicine to traditional practices while seeking new methods to diagnose patients better.

What type of degree do I need to pursue research in or educate others about Acupuncture?

Currently, no higher institution in the United States offers Ph.D. in Acupuncture. However, colleges accredited by ACAOM maintain a network of faculty continuously producing new knowledge in acupuncture. Most professors in these schools have earned at least a Master’s Degree in Acupuncture, a license, and relevant, extensive experience. Some professors are also holders of advanced degrees in various related fields like Physiology, Biology, and Medicine.

While official titles of vary in different places, practitioners and scholars in the field of Acupuncture contribute to the academic community through journal publications. These include The American Journal of Chinese Medicine, Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies, Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Acupuncture & Electro-Therapeutics Research, and Acupuncture in Medicine.

How do I earn a transitional or bridge D.Acu degree?

If you have a master’s degree in Acupuncture, you can apply to transitional or bridge D.Acu degree that you can earn online while continuing your practice. Some institutions also award a joint degree, i.e. “Doctor in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine” if you already hold a Masters in Oriental Medicine.

What kind of career and salary can I expect with my D.Acu degree?

Acupuncture doctors heal their patients through needles, herbs, and other therapeutic techniques. They work along with physical therapists, reflexologists, chiropractors, and naturopathic practitioners. Acupuncturists work in a clinic or a major hospital that caters to traditional practices.

Upon earning the degree, an Acupuncturist gets an annual salary between $75,000 and $80,000. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median yearly of acupuncturists and other diagnostic and treating practitioners is $74, 530.

Do I need a license to be an acupuncturist?

Yes. Majority of the states require acupuncturists to obtain a license before clinical practice. Aspiring acupuncturists need to pass the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) examinations or complete the NCCAOM certification program. Some states such as California hold licensing examination for acupuncturists.

What schools offer Doctor of Acupuncture degrees?

Acupuncturists who wish to advance their career while continuing their practice have several institutions options. Some universities like the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine offers a transitional program 100% online without the need to attend on-campus classes.

To prevent disrupting acupuncture practice, top acupuncture schools in the country, such as Oregon College of Oriental Medicine, Emperor’s College School of Traditional Oriental Medicine, and Maryland University of Integrated Health (MUIH) offer flexible school schedules for students. A typical scenario, in this case, is a D.Acu candidate attending extended weekends or 5 days of coursework and training four times within an academic semester.

Most acupuncture schools adopt a hybrid curriculum of on-campus and online courses to emphasize quality education and research literacy among students. Others like the Five Branches University extend their scope further by offering extra learning with their Chinese university partners.

Becoming an acupuncturist in the contemporary world is an unconventional way to serve the sick without fear of invasive surgery. Your profession is the embodiment of the old meeting the new, of tradition integrating with modernity, and of the East understanding the West.