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Acupuncturists diagnose patients' diseases, physiological disorders and injuries according to traditional Chinese medical theories, and treat them by inserting acupuncture needles or by using other methods of stimulating different points on the body.

  • Avg. Salary N/A
  • Avg. Wage N/A
  • Minimum Education 3 years post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed < 1500
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Complementary Medicine Practitioner

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Acupuncturists (3232.2) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Midwives and Practitioners of Natural Healing (D232) 
  • 2011 NOC: Practitioners of natural healing (3232) 
Interest Codes
The Acupuncturist is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).

Interest in co-ordinating information about patients' general physical conditions obtained from physicals and medical tests, and by observing and interviewing patients


Interest in precision working to insert acupuncture needles at precise points to correct energy imbalances in the body to treat disorders, relieve pain, and improve and maintain health


Interest in mentoring patients by diagnosing and treating disorders and injuries using the established techniques and methods of acupuncture and other therapies

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Oct 20, 2014

Acupuncture, a healing art practiced in China for over two thousand years, has received attention and acceptance in Western cultures relatively recently. It is based on the premise that illness occurs when the flow of vital energy, Qi, is obstructed or out of balance. Stimulating certain points on the body can help correct this obstruction or imbalance and, consequently, relieve pain and restore health.

Acupuncturists use unique techniques and diagnostic methods to determine patterns of imbalance or disharmony. In a typical assessment session, an acupuncturist assesses a patient's vitality and general physical, mental and emotional condition by:

  • examining the patient's tongue, complexion and general appearance
  • listening to the patient's voice, breathing and abdominal sounds
  • noting body odours
  • checking pulses at several points on each wrist and other specific points
  • asking questions about body functions such as digestion, sleep patterns and eating habits
  • conducting palpation of muscle groups, joints and skin for abnormalities or dysfunction.

Through patients' physicians, acupuncturists also may arrange for additional tests, analyses and x-rays to assist in diagnosing problems.

Once they have made a diagnosis, acupuncturists determine which body points should be stimulated, how and for how long. Treatment may include placing needles, the width of a few hairs, at select points all over the body. Other traditional methods of treatment such as moxibustion, cupping and tuina massage may be employed. Acupuncturists also may recommend herbal supplements, exercises or dietary changes.

Working Conditions
Updated Oct 20, 2014

Acupuncturists work in offices and treatment clinics, and may spend a great deal of their time on their feet. For the convenience of their clients, they may work some evening or weekend hours.

Acupuncturists routinely handle items that weigh up to 10 kilograms. Occasionally, they may be required to lift or help move patients (for example, from wheelchair to treatment table). They also are required to follow strict clean needle techniques as well as observe safe handling and disposal methods. Working with biohazards (for example, blood) is probable.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Oct 20, 2014

Acupuncturists need the following characteristics:

  • an ethical, responsible and compassionate attitude
  • good communication skills
  • maturity and professionalism
  • the ability to establish rapport with patients and gain their trust and confidence.

They should enjoy observing and interviewing people, performing tasks requiring precision (for example, inserting acupuncture needles at precise points) and advising patients.

Educational Requirements
Updated Oct 20, 2014

In general, applicants for registration as acupuncturists (see Certification Requirements below) must satisfactorily complete an approved program of studies (or equivalent) and have practiced acupuncture for at least 500 hours in the previous two years.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Alberta College of Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine

Calgary College of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture

Canadian Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Grant MacEwan University

Reeves College - Edmonton

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Oct 20, 2014


Acupuncturists diagnose, treat and prevent diseases, disorders and dysfunctions using methods based on the holistic principles of traditional Chinese medicine and by stimulating acupuncture points and meridians.


Under Alberta's Health Disciplines Act and Acupuncture Regulation, you must be registered by the College and Association of Acupuncturists of Alberta to call yourself an Acupuncturist. Registered members provide services listed in the Regulation.

What You Need

Registration as an Acupuncturist requires: (1) successful completion of an approved program of studies or equivalent qualifications, (2) successful completion of an approved examination, and (3) at least 500 hours of practice within the two years prior to application, or equivalent qualifications. For official, detailed information about registration requirements, visit the Alberta Health website or contact the Registrar for Acupuncturists.

Working in Alberta

Acupuncturists who are registered and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for registration in Alberta if registered acupuncturists in the two jurisdictions have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see "What if I am already certified in another province or territory?" and the Alberta regulatory authority (below).

To find more information on the certification process for internationally educated acupuncturists, see Acupuncturist Registration Process on the website.

Contact Details

College and Association of Acupuncturists of Alberta
5213 - 87 Street
Edmonton, Alberta  
Canada  T6E 5L5
Phone number: 780-466-7787

Employment & Advancement
Updated Oct 20, 2014

Most acupuncturists work in private practice, alone or in partnership with other health care professionals such as family physicians or chiropractors. Some acupuncturists work on a contract basis. Few are employees. Advancement in this occupation generally takes the form of building a larger, more prosperous practice.

Acupuncturists are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 3232: Practitioners of Natural Healing.  In Alberta, 75% of people employed in this classification work in the Health Care and Social Assistance (PDF) industry.

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Health Care and Assistance industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Oct 20, 2014

Incomes in this occupation vary considerably. No current salary data is available.

Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Science
    • Biology
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  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Health Care Services
    • Human and Social Services
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
  • Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Oct 20, 2014

College and Association of Acupuncturists of Alberta website:

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 31, 2018. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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