Acupuncturists’ Gross Annual Income Has Significantly Increased Than 2015

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Acupuncturists’ Income sources have been Diverse and Increased.

More Than 80% of Acupuncturists Affected by COVID-19 in Income

By Namwook Cho L.Ac

The California Acupuncture Board (CAB) recently released the result from 2021 Occupational Analysis (OA), which was performed last year. It has been six years since the 2015 OA was done.

Among 2,795 who responded to answer their approximate gross annual income generated from employment as a licensed acupuncturist, the majority, 18.3 %, marked their income range of $30,000-$49,000. Second largest number of answers, 17.2% checked $50,000-$74,000. The highest gross annual income of over $200,000 was selected by 103 answers, which counts for 3.7% of the total responses to the question.

Last OA conducted in 2015, the majority’s income was $20,999 (113 responds), and the highest income of 54 responds was over $100,000. The highest annual gross income of 2021 OA doubled from 2015’s OA. And overall income has significantly increased.

But there is concern that 17.9% responded that their gross annual income was under $15,000 and showed a big gap between the highest and lowest annual gross income.

The CAB requested that the Department of Consumer Affairs Office of Professional Examination Services (OPES) conduct an OA. The results of this OA describe practice for the acupuncturist profession that can be used to develop the California Acupuncture Licensing Examination (CALE).


Acupuncturists have been changed in good ways than the 2015 OV survey even the pandemic affected the professions. The highest income group’s annual gross income has increased by double. More acupuncturists were engaged in various types of health insurance for an income source, just like other healthcare professionals in the US.

2015 OA Regarding Approximate Gross Annual Income

The approximate gross income generated from their Acupuncture practice, 42.7 % of respondents specified an income below $40,000 a year, 16.3 % specified an income between $40,000 and $59,999, 14.8 % specified an income between $60,000 and $79,999, 9.9 % specified an income between $80,000 and $99,999, and 11.1 % specified an income of above $100,000. Respondents were asked to report the primary source of income with the most frequent responses being Health Insurance (47.2 %), Private Insurance (42.9 %), and Cash out of Pocket (33.8 %).

2021 OA Regarding Approximate Gross Annual Income

Comparing to 2015 OA, income range has been changed. 17.9% of respondents’ income was under $15,000 a year, 16.3 % between $15,000 and $29,999, 18.3% between $30,00 and $49,999, 17.2% $50,000 and $74,999, 11.3% between $75,000 and $99,999.

The primary way patients pay for services or source of income with the most frequent responses being out-of-pocket (81.8%), health insurance (55.5%), workers’ compensation (20.1%), personal injury (14.6%), veterans affairs (10.1%), Medicaid/Medicare (9.3%). Compared to earlier OA, out-of-pocket has been increased from 33.8% to 81.8%.

Also, there were no responses for income sources as workers’ compensation, personal injury, and veterans’ affairs besides health insurance. It shows that acupuncturists seemed to be more familiar working with various medical professionals and insurance firms.

Changes in Income During COVID-19 Pandemic

A total of 81.6% remarked that they were affected by the pandemic; 59.9% of respondents said “Decreased significantly,” 21.7% “Decreased slightly.” There were answers like “No change” (9.7%), “Increased slightly” (5.4%), “Increased significantly” (2.4%).

Other Demographic characteristics

  • Primary practice in an urban location.
  • Primary practice as a sole proprietorship.
  • Are self-employed.
  • Have not used telehealth services over the past 12 months to provide patient care.
  • The primary focus of their practice is pain management.
  • Their practice uses acupuncture, cupping, herbal therapy, diet and nutrition recommendations, electroacupuncture, infrared therapy, ear seeds, manual therapy, heat therapy, and moxibustion.
  • Reported English as their native language.
  • Reported English as the language spoken by the majority of their patients.