Online Acupuncture Degree and Certification Programs

Practiced as an element of traditional Chinese medicine and becoming more accepted by Western medicine, acupuncture is believed to produce healing chemicals by the nervous system, and is used to treat a number of ailments. You can't earn a degree in acupuncture online, but on-campus study will teach you acupuncture techniques as well as reflexology, herbology and more. Keep reading for more information about programs and licensing. Schools offering Complementary & Alternative Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Can I Earn an Acupuncture Degree Over the Internet?

Due to the intensive, hands-on nature of acupuncture programs, fully online study is impossible. However, many colleges offer acupuncture programs on campus. For a full list of accredited acupuncture programs, go to the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) website (

Online Degrees Fully online study impossible due to the nature of the discipline, but many colleges offer on-campus programs
Programs Available Diploma, master's and doctoral programs in acupuncture, Oriental medicine, and traditional Chinese medicine
Getting Licensed 43 states require or accept The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) certification as of 2015
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 13% for Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners, All Other (includes Acupuncturists)*
Median annual Salary (May 2018) $73,960 for Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners, All Other (includes Acupuncturists)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Programs Are Available?

There are currently three types of programs that are accredited by the ACAOM - a diploma program, a master's degree program, and a doctoral program. These may be awarded in acupuncture, Oriental medicine or traditional Chinese medicine. Some schools may provide a provisional certificate of completion program until they can obtain state authorization to offer a doctoral degree.

Diploma programs are 4-year programs that award a master's level diploma upon completion. Through this program, you'll spend time learning about the ancient methods and the new traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) techniques. You'll also study Western medicine for a well-rounded education. In addition to learning about anatomy and acupoints, you'll spend time learning about terminology, theories, herbs and the history of Chinese medicine. Classes tend to be kept small, and some colleges prefer cohort programs in which you learn alongside the same students throughout your study.

The master's degree program is the most common accredited program for acupuncture. During this program, you'll spend time developing your skills in finding acupoints and using Oriental medicine. You'll learn about terminology, surface anatomy, pathology, nutrition, and reflexology. Topics covered will also include Meridien theory, Five Element theory and how to diagnose using TCM. You'll also spend time every semester in clinical internships practicing theories and techniques.

Doctoral degree programs look in-depth into supplements, herbs, and foods as well as acupuncture. You'll learn how to provide TCM preventative care to your patients through the recommended three stages: exercise, supplements, and acupuncture. You'll learn through internships, case studies, research, and possible teaching experiences.

How Do I Get Licensed?

Each state board has different requirements for the practice of acupuncture. Check with your state's licensing board to find out these requirements. The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) offers a certification examination ( As of 2010, 43 states require or accept the NCCAOM exams toward licensure.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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