The ancient Chinese science
Acupuncture is the name given to the practice of inserting and manipulating tiny needles into particular points on the body. It has been performed for thousands of years, and recently has become a popular way for those interested in alternative medicine to reduce pain and maintain health.
Acupuncture is thought to have originated in China, but several different forms of it (including Korean and Japanese acupuncture) are practiced throughout the world.
In order to legally perform acupuncture, you have to earn a degree from an accredited school. A Master's degree is required if you want to become nationally certified and licensed by your home state. Many states also require acupuncturists to be certified by the National Commission for Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).
When choosing a school, most students look for one with a solid foundation in the theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The best programs provide students with comprehensive training in not only acupuncture, but also dietary therapy, Chinese herbology and tui na (a Chinese body treatment that resembles massage). In addition to this, some schools supplement their curriculum with business courses aimed at students who hope to one day own and operate their own acupuncture business.
People in the acupuncture field usually work in an office (either one dedicated solely to acupuncture or one that shares space with other alternative medicine providers). Some are self-employed and work at home. Most acupuncturists work a 40-hour week, but evenings and weekends are not uncommon (particularly among entrepreneurs who set their own hours). The average salary is around $16 per hour, but this is expected to increase sharply over the next decade.