How Much does Acupuncture School Cost?

List of Acupuncture Schools by Total Estimated Program Cost (Tuition, Fees, and Books) ( in the U.S.)

10 Most Expensive Acup + Herb Programs    
95500 Bastyr University Kenmore WA
91124 National College of Natural Medicine Portland OR
84128 Tai Sophia Institute Laurel MD
79920 Pacific College – New York, NY New York NY
77200 Finger Lakes School of Acup. and OM Seneca Falls NY
77040 Tri-State College of Acupuncture New York NY
74947 Oregon College of Oriental Medicine Portland OR
70270 New England School of Acupuncture Newton MA
68000 Daoist Traditions College Asheville NC
67850 New York College of Health Professions Syosset NY
5 Least Expensive Acup + Herb Programs    
35230 Stanton University Garden Grove CA
35240 Dongguk University – Los Angeles Los Angeles CA
35624 South Baylo University Anaheim CA
35935 Alhambra Medical University Alhambra, CA
36855 University of East West Medicine Sunnyvale CA
5 Most Expensive Acupuncture Programs    
77124 National College of Natural Medicine Portland OR
76500 Bastyr University Kenmore WA
70054 Pacific College – New York, NY New York NY
69128 Tai Sophia Institute Laurel MD
64050 Tri-State College of Acupuncture New York NY
5 Least Expensive Acupuncture Programs    
37099 Colorado School of TCM Denver CO
38400 Jung Tao School Of Classical CM Sugar Grove NC
41415 Midwest College of OM – Chicago Chicago IL
41415 Midwest College of OM – Racine Racine WI
42050 Seattle Institute of Oriental Medicine Seattle WA

This list was compiled with numbers  from available school websites and catalogs.  The total estimated program cost(TEPCo) here includes Tuition, Fees, and Books. In most cases, schools do not publish the TEPCo directly, it has to be calculated.    The cost of NCCAOM, CALE, and/or other state boards and license fees have not been included.  These add another $2500-4000 depending on the exams and licenses.  Cost of Living has not been included.  If you find that any calculations or information presented are in error, please submit your corrections in the comments or via email to me, and please include your source material and calculations.

Cost of Living varies from city to city and by program type and length.  Some programs are residential, some are weekend or week intensive travel programs.  In most every case, one has to figure on at least 3 years minimum and up to 6 years to finish a program.  Some schools calculate the average minimum cost of living in their city to be 20,000 per year.  I would say that 12-15,000/year might be the most minimum frugal estimate to live on in most places for a single person living on the cheap.  So any prospective student can expect to add 45,000 – 80,000 for 3-4 years living costs during a program’s duration.

The full list sorted alphabetically follows:

Acup Acu+herbs      
46,235 56,665 Academy for Five Element Acupuncture Gainesville FL
  39,967 Academy of Chinese Culture and Health Sciences Oakland CA
  52,248 Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine College Berkeley CA
  46,400 Acupuncture & Massage College Miami FL
  35,935 Alhambra Medical University Alhambra, CA
  47,200 American Academy of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Roseville, MN
  44,000 American College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Houston TX
  64,009 American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine San Francisco CA
TBD   American Institute of Alternative Medicine Columbus OH
  52,931 AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine Austin TX
47016 55,366 Arizona School of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Tucson AZ
43745 52,390 Asian Institute of Medical Studies Tucson AZ
  46,200 Atlantic Institute of Oriental Medicine Fort Lauderdale FL
76500 95,500 Bastyr University Kenmore WA
42983 55,958 College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine at NHS Bloomington MN
37,099 46,695 Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine Denver CO
  68,000 Daoist Traditions College Of Chinese Medical Arts Asheville NC
  35,240 Dongguk University – Los Angeles Los Angeles CA
  56,200 Dragon Rises College of Oriental Medicine Gainesville FL
  51,000 East West College of Natural Medicine Sarasota FL
  59,935 Eastern School of Acupuncture and Traditional Medicine Montclair NJ
  54,000 Emperor’s College of Traditional Oriental Medicine Santa Monica CA
58200 77,200 Finger Lakes School of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Seneca Falls NY
  58,100 Five Branches University: San Jose San Jose CA
  58,100 Five Branches University: Santa Cruz Santa Cruz CA
  53,200 Florida College of Integrative Medicine Orlando FL
  48,000 Institute of Clinical Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Honolulu HI
56500   Institute of Taoist Education and Acupuncture Louisville CO
38400   Jung Tao School Of Classical Chinese Medicine Sugar Grove NC
  38,500 Kansas College of Chinese Medicine Wichita KS
41415 54,103 Midwest College of Oriental Medicine – Chicago, IL Chicago IL
41415 54,103 Midwest College of Oriental Medicine – Racine, WI Racine WI
77124 91,124 National College of Natural Medicine Portland OR
48600 65,600 National University Of Health Sciences Lombard IL
62275 70,270 New England School of Acupuncture Newton MA
53850 67,850 New York College of Health Professions Syosset NY
49445 63,620 New York College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Mineola NY
  74947 Oregon College of Oriental Medicine Portland OR
  62,922 Pacific College of Oriental Medicine – Chicago, IL Chicago IL
70054 79,920 Pacific College of Oriental Medicine – New York, NY New York NY
  60,587 Pacific College of Oriental Medicine – San Diego, CA San Diego CA
51193 60,028 Phoenix Institute of Herbal Medicine & Acupuncture Phoenix AZ
42050 58,700 Seattle Institute of Oriental Medicine Seattle WA
  35,624 South Baylo University Anaheim CA
  37,500 Southern California University (SOMA) Los Angeles CA
  44,500 Southern California University Of Health Sciences Whittier CA
  58,917 Southwest Acupuncture College Albuquerque, NM
  58,917 Southwest Acupuncture College Boulder CO
  58,917 Southwest Acupuncture College Santa Fe NM
  35,230 Stanton University Garden Grove CA
69128 84,128 Tai Sophia Institute Laurel MD
  48,300 Texas College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Austin TX
  56,000 Traditional Chinese Medical College of Hawaii Kamuela HI
64050 77,040 Tri-State College of Acupuncture New York NY
62000   University of Bridgeport Bridgeport CT
  36,855 University of East West Medicine Sunnyvale CA
53700   WON Institute of Graduate Studies Glenside PA
  37,920 World Medicine Institute Honolulu HI
44620   Wu Hsing Tao School Seattle WA
  53,670 Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine Los Angeles CA
Author: keithananda

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  1. Keith you are amazing.

    Great compiling work, thanks! 

    Also, I had totally missed that there was an acu-school in Kansas!  (And yet no licensing – is that why so few acupunks there?  Any insights, Nick?)

  2. South of the border…

    Still no love for Canada, eh?

    In the older sibling to this post you can see that the cost for Acupuncture only schooling in BC ranges between $23,330 to $38,470. 

    For Acupuncture & Herbs (TCM Practitioner) the range is between $31,040 and $53,185.

    For foreign students, including our kin to the south there, the prices are a bit higher, but not by too much. Probably a thousand or so per year.

    I’m really curious to know what the difference is between the schools. They must all follow some standard curriculum, so why the price? One of the more expensive schools in BC has a very high pass rate for the licensing exam (near 90%) but the owner of the school sits on the board for the governing college. So that might not be an indication of the quality…

    I also can’t wait to see what PCC/Climb is able to put together in the future. Might make a few ripples. 

  3. Nice work Keith!

    I started to compile a similar list last year and put it aside. It’s a ton of effort just to navigate AOM school websites and piece together tuition, fees, fees with an asterisk. Sometimes 2 and 3 asterisks deep. Ugh!

    Your commentary on cost of living is also right on par. Prospecitve AOM students need to add these numbers to the ‘real cost of the AOM education’. Many programs are so packed full of classes these days that it’s really difficult to hold down a job, even a few hours a week. Furthering the need to take on additional loans to cover their cost of living.

    You deserve a star! Or a swim in the jello-pit!

  4. interesting

    Some names i haven’t seen – just acquired candidacy in the last year.  Especially interesting is Stanton.  If the OM thing doesn’t work out, they also have schools of nursing, evangelical ministry and golf course management. Can’t seem to locate the tuition and fees on the website, where did you find it?

  5. …and maybe a couple of

    …and maybe a couple of names you don’t see anymore that are no longer enrolling new acu students…

  6. thanks

    i couldn’t find this link from the site listed on, i wonder if the information is still valid.  Way cheap for an OM program in any case – half the price of the upper-end schools.

  7. 5 of the least expensive AOM

    5 of the least expensive AOM schools are in the Los Angeles area.  They have a successful track record of preparing entry level practitioners.  As to why the prices are so much higher at some of the other schools would take some more investigation.

  8. well..

    they are a pretty small school so their classes only have 4-6 people in them a year.  (from what i have been told).  a lot of people move out of state or cross the border into another state to practice.  there is a lot of fear among the ks acu crowd about practicing in ks.  there are probably people practicing on the DL.  only a handful of us can be found on a websearch.  i have heard good things about the school.  maybe i should have went there.. it would have been half the cost and i would have learned herbs too..



  9. Cost of being prepared for the licensing exam(s)

    Keith – This is really outstanding. I have a few questions and comments. First, these are costs for total tuition for the entire training, correct. Excuse me being a dummy. I believe they are totals and not annuals. The next question is how do folks pay for their training? We know many take loans. That is another story Shauna is expert on. Second Q – what is the corporate status of scools? How many for-profit and how many non-profit? How many are single shareholder/owner? How many are affiliated with a “religious” school or mission? Not an attack on faith-based orgs. We should all be aware there are training programs that exist primarily to prepare international missionaries for global work. I heard the testimony from the school President at an unforgettable CAB meeting. Additionally, the CALE pass rate data shows certain schools tend to have very few graduates who ever take the exam. Third, a caveat about how well AOM training programs prepare grads to pass at least the CALE. The overall pass rate is abominably low, averaging 60% over the decade (70% first timers, 55% repeaters). Some of the schools that cost the least have the worst pass rates. For example, S Baylo 62%, Dongguk 57% and PCOM 65%. Bottom line – there are way too many schools. As Deke Kendall recently wrote “China has a population that exceeds 1.3 billion people and they only have 23 Chinese Medicine schools. By comparison, the US has a population of 360 million people with 55 acupuncture schools.” I am not asking you to collect the data. What you have done is tough enough. Thanks.

  10. Entire training –  yes,

    Entire training –  yes, figures given are total estimate for books, fees, tuition. In some cases I had to estimate books and some fees like malpractice that I know exist but weren’t laid out.

    Each program last between 3-4 years.  People can attend many of the programs part time until they finish, usually with a time limit of 6 years to finish.  when they do this , the cost increases.  OCOM is pretty much the only school that lays this out up front with a “programmatic track” of 3 years – 74K , 4 years – 81K, or 6 years 100K,  all for the same program at different time lengths. 

    Pay for training?  student loans, savings, family help?   people also work during school, but this is a hard road.  some schools are designed to be at night or on weekends so people can work.  Still challenging, but better in the long run to work during school and come out with far less debt than not working.

    in 2007, non-profit schools  – 25 , for-profit  – 36 .

    from ACAOM student enrollment report 2005-2007.

    for 2011, probably similar, a couple schools have folded and a few more have started up since then.

    I’m not sure what to say about the CALE pass rate, I bet the folks in California have a lot to say about it.


    Other interesting data tidbits:

    ratio of primary care physicians to people in the U.S. :


    ratio of acupucnture licenses to people in the U.S. :


    ratio of PRACTICING acupuncturists/AOM’ers to U.S. population:



    but not more than 1:11000 . 


    still plenty of room for more


    somewhere i did a chart that showed the ratios state by state.  i’ll look for it.  even in California with 10,000 acu licenses i think the ratio was 1:3000 or something like that.

  11. competition?

    I noticed a lot of the FL schools are less expensive, too, and there are a lot of acu schools in FL.  NESA is one of the most expensive, and is the only acu school in all of New England.  Does that trend seem to hold true for the other schools/areas?

  12. The CALE is just a horrible

    The CALE is just a horrible exam, I feel lucky to have passed it on the first try, a lot of good students don’t pass it because it’s poorly designed with confusing questions, many that don’t make sense.  The NCCAOM exam was so easy in comparison, it was clear and the questions make sense, if you studied and did well in school you could count on passing it.  I took the CALE in 2002, I don’t know if it has gotten any better since then.  I went to PCOM, the CALE pass rate was much higher back then so I don’t know if the exam has gotten worse, or if the school has, but when I went I felt we were as well prepared as we could be to take the exam, the NCCAOM exam was a breeze for most of us, everyone I knew passed it, so I really feel the problem lies with the CALE, rather than our schooling.

    I knew quite a few people who chose not to take the CA exam, and only took the NCCAOM exams, many people who go to school in CA don’t plan to stay and practice so they don’t bother with the exam.

  13. Disturbing signs of influence

    Over here in Tokyo one of our big daily frustrations is the powerful influence of Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the f—ed up Fukushima nuclear power plant. The electricity utility uses a massive advertising budget to keep a stranglehold over the media and tamp down criticism. (Why does a company with a monopoly need an advertising budget!?)

    It therefore has been the foreign press that have had to be the ones to really take Tokyo Electric to task. They are totally free of the tangled political-industrial-economic web that gags domestic outcry.

    BUT I was disturbed to see a possible sign that Tokyo Electric’s influence is starting to reach across the Pacific Ocean in the above post. I found it very suspicious that the author chose to use the acronym TEPCO for “total estimated program cost.” TEPCO is the acronym used for Tokyo Electric ( The author only used the acronym once, and in the very next sentence — hardly necessary to formulate an acronym for this purpose. An attempt at subliminal brain washing?

    I hereby call on CAN to free itself of all corporate influence, especially of companies with reputations as sullied as TEPCO’s!

    Just joking by the way…

  14. glad you’re not afraid of

    glad you’re not afraid of ks. my mom LOVES getting treated at your clinic.

  15. Though I realize that this is an old thread, I am shocked to see that the tuition of ACTCM in San Francisco has gone up 20k in 5 years! When I visited the school last year for an open house, I felt like I made a wrong turn when I saw the dean wearing a Wall- Street-looking suit and tie. He and the other executives were dressed like employees at Goldman Sachs. Yuck.