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Acupuncturists follow the principles of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to diagnose and treat illness, physiological disorders and injuries. They use special needles or other methods to stimulate various 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 Lower
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 Mar 31, 2018

The healing art of acupuncture has been practised in China for over 2,000 years. It has been accepted and embraced in Western cultures. Acupuncture is based on the idea that illness happens when the flow of vital energy, qi, is blocked or out of balance. Stimulating certain points on the body can help correct problems, relieve pain, and restore health.

Acupuncturists assess and diagnose patients using special techniques within a holistic framework. They consider a patient’s vitality and general physical, mental, and emotional condition. They may:

  • examine the patient’s tongue, complexion, and general appearance
  • listen to the patient’s voice, breathing, and abdominal sounds
  • note body odours
  • check pulses on each wrist and other points
  • ask about body functions such as digestion, sleep patterns, and eating habits
  • palpate muscle groups, joints, and skin for abnormalities or dysfunction.

They may also arrange for tests (such as blood work or x-rays) through the patient’s medical doctor.

Once they have diagnosed the problem, acupuncturists decide which body points to stimulate, in what way, and for how long. Treatment may include placing very thin needles (the width of a few hairs) at select points on the body. They may use other traditional methods of treatment (such as moxibustion, cupping, and tuina massage). Acupuncturists may also suggest herbal supplements, exercise, or changes in diet.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Acupuncturists work in offices and treatment clinics and may spend a lot of time on their feet. For their clients’ convenience, they may work some evenings or weekends.

Acupuncturists often handle items that weigh up to 10 kilograms. They may need to lift or help move patients (for example, from wheelchair to treatment table). They must follow strict needle hygiene and safe handling and disposal practices. Working with biohazards (such as blood) is likely.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Acupuncturists need to possess:

  • an ethical, responsible, and caring attitude
  • the ability to listen and speak well
  • a mature and professional approach
  • the ability to gain patients’ trust and confidence.

They should enjoy observing and speaking to people, performing precision tasks (such as inserting acupuncture needles at precise points), and providing advice.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Generally, to register as an acupuncturist (see Certification Requirements below) a person must successfully complete an approved program of studies (or equivalent) and have at least 500 hours of practice within the previous 2 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 Mar 31, 2018


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 Mar 31, 2018

Most acupuncturists work in private clinics alone, or as partners with other health care providers such as family doctors or chiropractors. Some acupuncturists work on a contract basis. A few are employees. Advancement most often involves 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 [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events that affect overall employment (especially in the Health Care and Assistance industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities that come up when people leave existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities that come up when new positions are created)
  • 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 Mar 31, 2018

Incomes vary a lot. No current salary data is available.

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
  • Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2018

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 Supports 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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