How Much Money Do Acupuncturists Earn?

**UPDATE** Insights For Acupuncturists is undergoing a renovation! So much has changed since I originally created this website it in 2007. I'll be updating the best information, resources and the latest, greatest marketing strategies for acupuncturists. If you have a topic you are struggling with, let me know by clicking here. Thanks! ~Lisa Hanfileti, LAc

If you're serious about becoming an acupuncturist, it's time to research the question, "how much money do acupuncturists earn?"

An acupuncturist's income is dependent on a multitude of factors. So be aware that researching income can never be a guarantee for how much money YOU can earn as a professional acupuncturist. 

According to data collected by PayScale.com, the average salary for an Acupuncturist (as of data collected May 2014) is $47,813 per year. In the graph below you can see how this salary compares to other professionals. (Click on the graph below for a closer look on PayScale.com.)

Median Salary by Job - Skill: Acupuncture (United States)
Median Salary by JobPayScale Salary Calculator

But these numbers are misleading. There really are not enough "data points" (only 39) to draw any conclusions, but at least it is a starting point.

There are MANY factors that can contribute to an acupuncturist making more or less money. For instance, the location of the acupuncture practice can significantly impact how much an acupuncturist can charge for services as well as the number of people who seek out acupuncture treatments.

Acupuncture Income Varies By Location

Just look at the graph below which shows the difference in acupuncture salary for an acupuncturist in New York City ($60,000), and Seattle ($38,000) compared to Tucson ($157,500). Again some of these data points are based on 2 or 3 people so no conclusions should be drawn from this information alone. 

Median Salary by City - Skill: Acupuncture (United States)
Median Salary by CityPayScale Salary Calculator

Again, the number of people included in this survey is too small to draw any conclusions. But you can still ask yourself important questions, including what is the cost of living in these different cities? And do the demographics and competition support or hinder the success of an acupuncture business?

As with any business, the importance of "location, location, location" still holds true for acupuncturists.

An Acupuncturist's Salary 
Depends on Several Key Factors

The problem with the question, "How much money does an acupuncturist earn?", is that the real answer is, "it depends".

What you can earn as an acupuncturist will depend on a number of factors including:

  • How many patients you see per day.
  • How many days per week you see patients.
  • How much you charge per patient.
  • How much you earn from herbal or other retail products.
  • How much you earn from passive income sources.
  • What state and state you are practicing in. (See the graph below.)
  • Whether you accept and bill for insurance, whether you are an in-network or out-of-network provider and what the reimbursement rate is. 
  • Whether you have employees and office staff.
  • What kind of practice you have (e.g. Sole Proprietor, LLC, PLLC, Partnership, Group, Employee, Independent Contractor, Associate, etc.,).

And this is just a partial list of conditions that influence how much money acupuncturists earn. There are certainly many more, plus those factors that affect expenses. 

The good news is that many of these factors are under the control of the acupuncturist and therefore you can determine how much money you make.

If you want to increase how much revenue you generate, you have to do two things:

1. Decrease Expenses, and
2. Increase Income

Obviously that's a simplistic view, but honestly it does not have to be overly complex. Acupuncturists are unique in that we have many different ways we can practice. Often there is an evolution, for instance from being an employee to owning & running your own practice. 

You can increase your income by looking at the list of factors above and changing the way you practice. For example, you can work more hours in the day so that you see more patients. You can increase what you charge, or rent out some of your office space. There are many things you can do to increase your earnings.

If getting patients through your door is your biggest challenge then you need to understand and invest in some marketing

Ultimately, how much an acupuncturist earns is in large part up to him or her. The most important elements in determining an acupuncturists salary are are the same that affect any service based business. Therefore, learning basic business and marketing principles is essential to having a successful acupuncture practice.