Home page

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine


Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine programs prepare people to treat patients based on Chinese medical principles.

Acupuncture programs prepare people to practice oriental medicine.  Students learn to balance the energy believed to flow through people's bodies. They study anatomy and medical ethics. They learn how to identify and select specific points on the body where they insert special needles. These needles are used to relieve pain and restore health.

Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine programs include topics such as:


In acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine programs, students may be able to specialize in:


Many universities or acupuncture schools offer graduate degrees in acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine. A master’s degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor’s degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master’s degree.

Most of these programs require that students have a bachelor's degree to be admitted. These programs award a master's degree, a certificate, or a diploma. A few programs offer joint bachelor's-master's degree programs. These are programs where you can earn a bachelor's degree and then immediately go on to earn a master's degree.

See schools that offer this program.

Related Educational Programs

Related Careers

Careers Directly Related to this Program of Study

Other Careers Related to this Program of Study

Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree and good grades. Although some schools require you to complete only two to three years of baccalaureate-level course work, they usually prefer that you have a bachelor's degree or an associate degree.

Many schools require that you complete the following college-level courses in the basic Western medical sciences before applying:

Some schools also require that you take general education courses in the following:

Additional requirements at many schools include:

Typical Course Work

Graduate Program Courses

This program typically includes courses in the following subjects:

All programs typically include a clinical internship or assistantship. This gives you the opportunity to apply your knowledge and sharpen your skills at various acupuncture clinics. Working under the supervision of an experienced, licensed acupuncturist exposes you to different treatment methods and kinds of patient care.

Some programs even include clinical observation in their curriculum, starting as early as the first or second year of study. This helps you to feel comfortable in a clinical setting before trying your own hand at treatment.

Things to Know

For your clinical internship, you need to have liability insurance. You're also expected to pay for your transportation, uniforms, and instruments.

If you plan to open your own business, classes in small business administration can be helpful.

Graduating from an accredited acupuncture program qualifies you to sit for the national certification exam.

In many states, you need to be licensed to practice acupuncture. In some of those states, national certification is sufficient. In other states, certification is a necessary step to taking a state licensing exam.

You may also see the term traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Although the theories of oriental medicine started in China several thousand years ago, developments also occurred in Korea, Japan, and Vietnam. Thus, the term oriental medicine sometimes replaces Chinese medicine.


King-Snohomish Area

Bastyr University

Seattle Institute of East Asian Medicine

West Side Area

Middle Way Acupuncture Institute