The California Acupuncture Board presented information on the acupuncture workforce in the USA at recent stakeholder meetings in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The data presented by the California Acupuncture Board Executive Director, Terri Thorfinnson, J.D., covered work hours, income and educational status for licensed acupuncturists in California and nationwide. This provides a greater understanding of the acupuncture profession in the USA.
The largest national percentage of acupuncturists working less than 30 hours per week makes $40,000 per year or less. Notably, there is a similar quantity of acupuncturists making either $40,000 per year or less compared with those making between $81,000 and $160,000 per year for those acupuncturists working more than 30 hours per week. A small proportion of acupuncturists earn greater than $161,000 per year.
One out of every three acupuncturists are located in California. Approximately 20-25% of all licensed acupuncturists are Asian and 40% of Asian licensed acupuncturists are located in California. The average gross income is approximately $50,000 and the average debt is approximately $45,000 for acupuncturists in California.
As of 2013, there are 10,999 acupuncturists in California with active acupuncture licenses. This compares with 9,543 active licensees in 2009, 9,678 in 2010, 10,182 in 2011 and 10,349 in 2012. This is a net gain of 1,456 licensed acupuncturists in California since 2009. Statistics also showed that the bulk of California Acupuncture Licensing Exams are administered in the English language but that a sizable quantity of exams were administered in the Korean and Chinese languages.
In California, the primary focus of an acupuncturist’s practice is about 20% pain management, 45% general practice, 1% orthopedic/neurology, 3% women’s health and 31% accounted for missing data. In California, sole practitioners account for 63% of the acupuncture workforce with 17% coming in second for acupuncturists working independently in a group setting. An additional 9% account for acupuncture medical groups and LLCs, 3% interdisciplinary medical groups, 4% multiple settings and another 4% accounts for missing data.