Graduate Stories: A Career in Acupuncture

Last Updated Jul 15, 2020

Acupuncture is an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), helping to restore the balance and flow of energy via the use of needles, lasers and finger pressure. The specialised nature of the modality requires practitioners to undergo extensive instruction and training, with a degree course taking up to four years. ntpages caught up with Rod Martin, a recent graduate of Endeavour College, to find out what motivated him and the highlights of his new career.

Were you a full or part-time student?

"I studied full time over four years. I have a young family so this commitment did have some practical challenges."

Why did you choose to study acupuncture?

I previously worked as a management consultant and karate instructor and reached a point where I was feeling very stressed and run down. As a father to young children, I was certain I wanted to take a new direction and be more present in the time I spent with my wife and family."

What course did you enrol in?

"I enrolled and completed the Bachelor of Health Sciences (Acupuncture) at Endeavour College."

What attracted you to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?

"I like the fact that TCM does not distinguish between our mind, body or emotional health. It has a truly integrated approach."

How were you introduced to acupuncture?

"I met some professional acupuncturists through my training in Japanese sword fighting and ended up having an acupuncture session myself. I felt instantly different – the treatment relaxed me and eventually cured my migraines, sore knees, lower back pain and digestive problems. I became very focussed on learning more about acupuncture so I could share the benefits I had experienced with others. I was intrigued by the fact that acupuncture teaches you about the body’s energy flows in a way that incorporates ancient wisdom."

How is the course divided into theory and practice?

"The first year is mostly theory, though there are practical elements as well. You basically don’t get to work with real people untilyear three."

How did the course help you transition into the workplace/open your own practice?

"The course has components in business management, so that aspect is definitely covered."

What did you do after graduating?

"After graduating from Endeavour College’s Bachelor of Health Sciences (Acupuncture), I’ve become a partner at a multi-modality clinic in Brisbane called Go 2 Human Performance."

Tell us about the clinic?

"We offer a range of health services including acupuncture, physiotherapy, naturopathy, beauty therapy and remedial massage. The clinic gives people access to all the health services they could need under the one roof. We are building relationships with a diverse clientele, including many of Brisbane’s top CEOs, through our unique, collaborative approach to healthcare."

Give us a practical example of this.

"It isn’t unheard of for our psychologist to call in our physiotherapist to give some advice or support to a client in a 60 minute session."

What has been the highlight of your new career?

"The highlight of my career has been the ability to help my father, who had a spinal stroke in 2009 which left him paralysed and impacted his bowel and bladder function. His diagnosis was quite dire and he wasn’t expected to walk again. I was granted permission from the hospital to treat him and after daily treatments he gained the ability to walk again within six weeks. His motor and sensory functions have also slowly but steadily returned. Every time I treat him I can see a visible improvement in his condition and that has been the greatest gift of all."

What is the best thing about being a natural therapy practitioner?

"Educating people and getting to meet people through my work. I have a lot of fun in my work."

What other advice can you give for studying a natural therapy?

"You need to have a clear idea of how you are going to practise. A lot of people think that having your own practice is the only way, so they start another job to make ends meet and end up not using their qualification at all."

To study acupuncture, check out some of the acupuncture courses available in Australia. 

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Originally published on Oct 17, 2011

FAQs About a Career in Acupuncture

What does an acupuncturist do?

An acupuncturist identifies the root cause of a patient's complaint and treats it using sterile acupuncture needles.

The needles are inserted in different points of the body where the energy pathways are located, to improve the flow of energy in the body and the functions of its internal organs.

Is it hard to become an acupuncturist?

Yes. Aside from the theory of acupuncture, you're going to cover a wide range of topics including several areas of Traditional Chinese Medicine, of which acupuncture is part. Then by your third year, you will have your practical training and start applying what you've learnt on real people.

What qualifications do you need for acupuncture?

To be a qualified acupuncturist in Australia, you need to complete a bachelor's degree in acupuncture, gain practical experience and register with the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia (CMBA).

How much can you make as an acupuncturist?

An acupuncturist in Australia can earn between $38K and $90K annually. One's skills and level of experience can influence their actual salary. For example, the income of a practitioner who is adept at pain management is 19% higher than that of their colleagues who are less experienced in pain management.

Is acupuncture a good career choice?

Yes. Acupuncture is a fulfilling career especially if you're passionate about easing other people's pain and restoring their health. Moreover, it offers several career options.

You can choose to work in clinical settings or set up your own private practice and enjoy a flexible work schedule.

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