Acupressure Certification and Certificate Programs

Get information on courses that prepare individuals to take acupressure certification exams. Read on to find out what these courses entail and what organizations offer certification.

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Essential Information

Acupressure can be thought of as acupuncture without needles. The practice manipulates acupuncture points through massage. Acupressure commonly makes use of hands, elbows, forearms, and even special devices.

Those wishing to pursue a career in acupressure and work as Asian bodywork therapists (ABT) can take courses to prepare for certification exams. These programs are offered through independent institutions or massage schools. Programs are between 600 and 800 hours long and may usually be completed in several months, although some programs can last up to a year. After completing a preparatory program, students usually sit for one of two national certification exams, administered by either the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine or the American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia. Acupressure professionals typically must also take a state licensing exam.

Students may expect to develop skills in both acupressure and acupuncture in addition to other forms of traditional eastern medicine. Some programs supplement these skills with training in first aid, CPR, Tai Chi, or kinesiology. Also, because many certified acupressure professionals start their own practices, business and finance courses are often a part of the curriculum.

Educational Prerequisites

Because these programs are largely vocational, most don't have prerequisites beyond a high school diploma or GED; however, most schools recommend that students have a background in science, statistics, anatomy, or even pre-medicine. Health-related associate's degrees also complement these certificates.

Program Coursework

Courses educate students on the body, general massage techniques, Eastern medicine and business. Some classes you might take in an acupressure certification program:

  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Business
  • Diagnostic techniques

Popular Career Options

Certified acupressure professionals most commonly start their own practices; however, a growing number of hospitals are beginning to incorporate acupressure practices to either complement traditional treatment or serve as alternative treatment. Some other career options might include:

  • Working in health spas
  • Working in hospitals
  • Working in international clinics
  • Acupressure or eastern medicine research
  • Teaching
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    • Applicants to master's programs must have already earned a bachelor's degree. Applicants to doctoral programs must have already earned a master's degree.
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