How To Earn an Acupuncture License

Acupuncture is an old form of Chinese healing practice that dates back to the 1600s. It is used to treat many ailments from insomnia to diabetes and is widely accepted in the United States and other parts of the world as an alternative medicine. The practice of acupuncture is allowed only by a licensed acupuncturist. Whereas before, it was only mostly the Chinese people who used to perform acupuncture procedures, nowadays anyone can practice acupuncture. Hence there arose the need to regulate this profession by requiring those who perform acupuncture healing to have the necessary license. If you are interested in earning an acupuncture license, here are tips that you may find helpful:

  1. Earn an acupuncture degree in a reputable acupuncture school. You may visit these websites for more information on these schools: and
  2. Make sure you have a four-year degree course (at least a Bachelor’s degree) before pursuing an acupuncture course. The ACAOM or Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine requires applicants to be college degree holders to qualify for a Master’s degree course in acupuncture.
  3. Comply with the needed number of hours of clinical work as part of the requirements in attaining a license. You have to complete around 800 hours of actual work in an acupuncture clinic with the supervision of a full-pledged acupuncturist.
  4. Research on the particular requisites for acupuncture licensing as mandated by your state. Though the practice of acupuncture is prevalent in the United States, there are states that do not give permission to acupuncturists to exercise their profession (as independent practitioners) in their areas. In these states, an acupuncturist has to be affiliated with a medical clinic or hospital and must be supervised by a doctor of medicine in order to carry out his functions.
  5. Know the state laws of the state you plan to move in. If you have immediate plans to relocate to another state, make sure you meet the updated requirements of said area. Laws and professional regulations vary and get amended from time to time so make sure you get enough information about the state’s new licensing laws. The state of California, for instance, is quite rigid with its licensing regulations on acupuncture practice, and such regulations are revised from time to time depending on its government’s discretion.
  6. Secure your license by taking the eligibility test. Upon completion of the necessary degree in acupuncture specialization, it is time for you to take the licensing examination. Get ready with all the requirements particularly documents to prove your credentials. Visit the website of the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) and find out the complete list of requirements, just to be very sure you do not miss out on anything.
  7. Prepare for the examination by taking review sessions either online or by attending actual classroom review lessons. You may want to brush up on Chinese herbal medicine too, as it may be included in the examination.
  8. Obtain further training on general medicine if you want to practice diagnosis aside from acupuncture. There is an added advantage if you earn extra credits in medicine because you will be able to perform the initial functions of a doctor in determining or diagnosing ailments.

As in any legal professional practice, acupuncture practice is covered by national and federal laws. Unfortunately, acupuncture has become a business for people who claim to be therapists. Hence, to protect the people from unscrupulous individuals posing to be real acupuncturists, the U.S. government is now very strict in implementing its licensing regulations.


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