Community Acupuncture clinics are dedicated to providing stable, living-wage jobs. Because social businesses reinvest profits back into the business, most clinic owners make about the same amount of money as their acupunk employees. There is some variation as to how each clinic pays its employees – some pay hourly, others provide salaried jobs, others pay on commission. Some clinics offer benefits such as paid vacation and CEUs. It’s not unusual for new, part-time punks to be paid an entry-level wage of $15-$20 per hour, with the possibility of increasing pay and more shifts as the schedule gets busier.
“I am currently salaried; when I was part time I was hourly. As a salaried punk I make 41k a year.”
–Anonymous (working 25 hours of needling, along with charting, clean up and an admin module, for a total of 32-35 hours a week)
“Before school, during school, and after school I worried about pay. I became an acupuncturist so that I would have a skill set to help people. Adding money to the equation seemed complicated… I had some savings by the time I finished school - some. I was incredibly relieved to be offered a job straight out - but I was not able to support myself with just acupuncture until I was also hired part time at PCA (in addition to working part-time at another clinic).
“I started at $20 an hour, went to $25 an hour, and now am at $33k a year. I average about 4-5 patient an hour.”
-Sarah of Philadelphia Community Acupuncture
“I am salaried and make in the range of $35-$40k. I probably see around six patients an hour.
“I think that what I make is pretty great. It sucks that school is so expensive. Coming out of school with so much student loan debt is really tough, especially when finding a sustainable job is so difficult. I am frustrated with school and the unrealistic expectations they set for students. I think it’s really frustrating. When you’re in school you hear you’ll do great and people will be flocking to you. I don’t know what you can say to people to change their mind. I wish that school made a bigger deal out of it. I think for an acupuncturist it’s a good chunk of money for what we do.”
-Mary of Manchester Acupuncture Studio
“I make a salary of $32,250.00 for 20 hours of acupuncture per week, about 4 hours of charting, and a handful of other clinic tasks. This group of other tasks is collectively called a half module. At WCA, salaried punks make a flat $26,000.00 for 20 hrs of acu plus the time it takes to chart, open, and close the clinic. They also typically do other clinical tasks besides acupuncture for about six to eight hours per week to flesh out a living wage. We call this chunk of other work a module and it is typically compensated as a separately salaried $6.5k per year. With my salary plus half module, I make 26k + half of 6.5k, or 3,250.00 per year; so, $29,250.00. The rest of my salary money comes from a yearly raise of $500.00 per year for each year I have been a salaried acupunk at WCA.
“At the time of this interview, I was working full time (20 hrs) needling and completing a half module in the WCA Cully clinic, so my salary reflected that work at 32,250.00 per year. I have since moved to the WCA Lents clinic and upgraded my work load to full time needling plus a full module. Changing to a full module puts my salary today at 35K. At Lents, I work four days a week in the clinic, five hours each shift, plus charting, opening and closing—-and it rocks! I spread my module work through the work week and focus a larger chunk of it on my fifth work day, outside the clinic. WCA Lents is a Big Damn Clinic that is new and growing (1st year anniversary a couple weeks ago!). As the clinic gets busier and can be open more hours, I plan to work five days a week, four hours each shift, to better reflect the needs of this growing clinic.”
-Moses of Working Class Acupuncture
What It’s Like to be an Employee Punk
Part 3 Training and Growth