What is the Salary of an Acupuncturist? In your search for answers to this question, you will likely come across a variety of incomes. Below we will examine the factors that determine how much money an acupuncturist makes.
If you're really trying to better understand acupuncture as a profession, there are other important pieces of information to keep in mind as well.
According to Jessica Frier, DAOM, program director and assistant professor of acupuncture and Chinese medicine at Northwestern Health Sciences University (NWHSU), "This is a great time to enter the acupuncture profession."
We'll go into the reasons for this below, but let's get back to the salary question first.
What is the Salary of an Acupuncturist?
Larry Morgan of Orion HR Group, a compensation analytics firm, provides the following average acupuncturist salary information for Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area as of May 2020.
Please note that these salaries are for W-2 employees and do not reflect earnings for acupuncturists owning/running their own business:
- Graduated with one year of experience:$48,800 annually, with dates ranging from $48,200 to $49,000
- More than 10 years of experience:$59,000 annually, with dates between $56,000 and $62,000
Remember this is information for Minneapolis-St. Pablo metropolitan area. Many variables go into reliable salary estimates. Because of this, providing a nationally unique number is not the most accurate way to understand what an acupuncturist earns.
We have provided information below to assist you in your salary research and to explain a number of factors that go into determining an acupuncturist's salary.
What to look for in your salary research
There is no shortage of online sources regarding an acupuncturist's income. However, keep in mind the following key points to get the most out of your research.
Trust the most reliable sources
According to Morgan of Orion HR Group, the best salary information starts with industry surveys conducted by HR professionals. The results are then collated and checked for accuracy. For any reported data that seems out of place, HR professionals conduct follow-up calls.
"In addition to the right experience, HR professionals have access to resources that provide the most accurate and unbiased salary information possible," says Morgan.
Heed these data warnings
When it comes to online sources for acupuncturist salaries, Morgan recommends paying attention to factors such as the following:
The source of the data.Does the source have a tendency to inflate numbers? How is the data collected and "cleaned" of outliers that could skew the results and make them less accurate?
The data collection method.How was the data collected? From students, self-assessment, anonymous surveys, HR professionals?
record size.How many participating organizations and how many people does the data represent? The more organizations involved and professionals represented, the more likely the data will be considered correct.
Salary data date.The market is not static. What is important is the date on which the salary survey information was collected. The general labor market shows an upward trend of 3.1% to 3.2% per year. Therefore, the data must be "aged" to the current figures.
Know the shortcomings of salary sources
Morgan also says he's aware of the inherent shortcomings of salary sources like the following:
professional associations and trade journals.These are based on data reported by members or subscribers. These datasets can be small, reflect higher salaries, and are skewed towards cheaper numbers.
Salary Specific Sites.Popular websites like GlassDoor, Salary.com, and PayScale rely heavily or exclusively on self-reported salary information. Records that reflect salary totals tend to be less accurate.
government sites.State government and state government websitesUS Bureau of Labor StatisticsFor example, specific information for acupuncturists may not be displayed, or data may be presented that is not very marketable and difficult to verify.
However, they can be useful for providing salary information, especially when you consider location and larger data sets on which your numbers are based.
Understand that there may be some control over your income
The more patients you see in a day or in a week, the higher your earning potential. This point is particularly relevant for acupuncturists who have their own clinic or are partners or collaborators in an environment where they are free to set their own hours and patient loads.
Although many acupuncturists operate exclusively on a fee-for-service payment system, others choose to accept insurance, which can be another avenue for reimbursement and increase income for cash-only patients.
Yes, accepting insurance means taking on more time-consuming administrative tasks, but some acupuncturists find it worthwhile, especially considering it can tap into patient flows from large health insurance networks.
Consider taxable income for owners vs. employees
Many acupuncturists have their own practice. In these cases, acupuncturists double as entrepreneurs. This means they have a large amount of tax-deductible general business expenses that can reduce their reported taxable income.
In order to understand what an acupuncturist really gains, this is an important point. The income reported by these acupuncturists may seem lower than some expect (or hope).
However, thanks to legitimate tax deductions, these incomes may not necessarily reflect the true financial rewards they enjoy.
In return, the income of the acupuncturists as employeesNOThey reflect the different types of deductions that private practice owners and operators have.
Keep in mind that more and more acupuncturists are joining the staff of hospitals and clinics. In these cases, they also receive social benefits such as health insurance, pension plans and paid time off.
Remember that geography matters
Not surprisingly, where you practice as an acupuncturist affects how much you earn. Keep that in mind when looking at overall "average" salaries.
To get a better idea of an acupuncturist's salary, limit your search to a specific region or metro area and see if you can find acupuncturist job postings that also include salary information.
Note that compensation varies with work environment
When trying to understand what an acupuncturist can do, it's important to realize that your compensation varies from one work setting to another. Today's acupuncturists can work in a wide variety of places (more on this in the next section).
Here are some examples of the many places acupuncturists work today:
- Chiropractic Offices
- Massage Therapy Practices
- Integratorcare clinics
- Primary care clinics
- private practices
- sports facilities
As you get a better picture of the earning potential of acupuncturists, you should also consider a number of other important factors and attractive traits that are part of the profession, such as those detailed below.
Beyond the Dollars: The Many Benefits of Being an Acupuncturist
To truly appreciate the profession of acupuncture, one definitely needs to understand more than just the sales numbers. Coming back to Jessica Frier, DAOM, Program Director and Assistant Professor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine at NWHSU.
An encouraging career prospect with a growing number of healthcare career opportunities
Have you thought about becoming a healthcare professional but not sure which path is right for you? If so, says Frier, there's never been a better time to consider acupuncture.
“Career opportunities for acupuncturists have changed dramatically in the last ten to fifteen years. Professionals are integrating into many different work environments that were not an option 20 years ago,” says Frier.
In fact, there is plenty of evidence to support his optimism about the future of acupuncture:
- Given the painkiller/opioidCrisis, the services of an acupuncturist are becoming an increasingly popular and effective alternative forpain therapy. For example, Abbott Northwestern in Minneapolis was the first hospital in the US to make an offeremergency acupunctureas an alternative to painkillers.
- influential companies such asThe Joint Commission, IsFood and drug management, and theAmerican College of Physiciansall officially support acupuncture as a viable non-drug option for pain relief. Advances like these serve to further strengthen the future of acupuncture.
- A growing body of scientific research supports the effectiveness of acupuncture. researchers ofYork Universityhave found that acupuncture "reduces pain and improves mood." Another example is a large study published inthe pain diaryconcluded that "acupuncture treatment is a reasonable option for patients with chronic pain."
- Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centerin New York City offers acupuncture treatment as part of a patient's cancer treatment. And renowned institutions like thatMayo ClinicjJohns Hopkins HospitalWe also offer acupuncture services.
- The Veterans Health Administration now recognizes acupuncture as a profession in its own rightHire full-time licensed acupuncturistsfor its facilities across the country.
- Acupuncture patients report high satisfaction rates. For example, between 85% and 93% of the acupuncture patients surveyed in a reportedlarge-scale studyHe claimed his acupuncturist successfully addressed his major health issue.
Watch Angela Weber describe how she went from being a physician assistant to studying acupuncture at NWHSU.
A rewarding career of helping others that has even a small impact on the body
The practice of acupuncture, Frier says, can be less physically demanding than other forms of health practice.
“For example, we have nurses from hospitals and massage therapists from private practices who enter the acupuncture field as a second career because of this factor,” explains Frier.
She adds that acupuncture can be a career option that people can enjoy well into retirement.
Enjoy the freedom that comes with having your own practice
Along with the growing opportunities for acupuncturists to work in a variety of healthcare settings, Frier says the option of running your own clinic remains the most common way acupuncturists practice. While this path isn't for everyone, it does have unique benefits like the following.
Enjoy a more flexible schedule and atmosphere that you help shape
Would you like to see patients during the week? Do you prefer to work on Saturdays and have Mondays off? You only want to work half the week?
Having your own practice allows you to have the types of hours that fit your lifestyle and personal preferences.
How do you want your space to look and feel, not just for you, but for your patients? Another advantage of having your own practice is that you have the opportunity to design your environment.
Watch NWHSU graduate Stephanie Hylla talk about how she decided to become an acupuncturist and why she loves running her own practice.
Control how much you work and earn
“People have different financial, personal and professional goals. In your own practice, you have the opportunity to shape your own income,” says Frier.
How much do you want to work? Frier points out that the typical way an acupuncture treatment is performed does not require you to constantly examine a patient like most massage therapists do.
And that's an important point in terms of the number of patients you could see in a day and how much you could make.
"Typically, the patient is left alone for 25 to 35 minutes to relax with the acupuncture needles," explains Frier.
In the meantime, many acupuncturists have a second room in which they start treatment with another patient. "And if you don't mind the pace, you could see three patients in an hour."
“Some definitely don't want to work like that. But the point is, you have that option," says Frier.
Lower cost to start practicing
For acupuncturists who want to own their own practice, the cost of starting the profession is significantly lower than many other types of private health practices, according to Frier. This can create a much easier path to opening your own business.
According to Frier, acupuncture needles, which are the primary tool for practicing, are inexpensive. In addition to a computer and medical records software, "your most expensive initial purchases are probably going to include your treatment tables, which cost hundreds of dollars each," she says.
"We're not a heavy equipment area that needs a lot of medical equipment," says Frier. "Once you start your own practice, your main expenses will likely be the monthly rent payments for your office space."
Connect more deeply with patients on multiple levels
"Acupuncture is a profession for people who want to support people in their healing process with a comprehensive range of instruments," says Frier.
Frier says people may not realize that an acupuncturist's education and training prepares them for a wide range of practices. For example, patients do not seek out an acupuncturist just for pain-related problems.
"You can also come to us for insomnia or anxiety, constipation, diet recommendations, breathing exercises and lifestyle changes."
According to Frier, this gives acupuncturists the opportunity to connect with patients on multiple levels, "which can really help build a strong emotional and clinical relationship with them."
Specialize in the areas that interest you
Like many other health care professionals, acupuncturists may specialize in a specific type of acupuncture service and/or work with specific types of patient groups, such as: e.g.:
- Patients with fertility problems.
- expectant mothers
- cancer patients
- hospice patients
As an acupuncture student, you can begin to explore these options. For example, students at NWHSU have a variety of internship opportunities, both with usclinicsand other clinics in the community.
In addition, acupuncture falls under a broader category of Oriental/Chinese medicine. With the right training and certification, acupuncturists can also provide herbal and Chinese medicine consultation services.
Learn more about NWHSUherbal pharmacy.
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