Acupuncture Schools, Certifications, and Regulations

As the popularity of alternative medicine grows, larger numbers of people are choosing to start their careers in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.  As the number of practitioners has expanded each year, regulation of the field has increased to protect the public and benefit the profession.

Acupuncture Training and Schools

Acupuncture is practiced by individuals who have completed a 3000-hour, four-year Masters Degree in Acupuncture and/or Oriental Medicine. Most programs offer either full-time or part-time study, and include training in Oriental Medicine fundamentals, Acupuncture, Western Medicine, and Clinical training. Many of the programs also include courses in Chinese language and Chinese Herbal Medicine as part of their curriculum.  The Masters Degrees include various titles such as Oriental Medicine, Acupuncture, Traditional Oriental Medicine, and Traditional Chinese Medicine from these programs.

There are more than 45 schools in the United States that have been accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM). In addition, there are several more schools which are candidates for accreditation.  Acupuncture schools are also regulated by the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM). CCAOM works to maintain the standard of quality of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine education.

The creation of a Doctorate of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM) was approved by ACAOM in 2004. These programs are offered to working, Masters-level graduates who have earned a license to practice acupuncture, and can be completed in two years.  The 1,200 hours of additional training advances the student to over 4,000 hours, on par with Medical Doctor Degrees.   Each of these programs offers different specialties, which may include Pain Management, Woman’s Care, and Oncology (Cancer).  It is expected that regulations will increase the entry-level practitioner to the Doctorate level in the near future.

Many American acupuncturists augment their training with hospital experience completed in China and other Asian countries. In China, Traditional Chinese Medicine hospitals are focused on providing medical care with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine. These hospitals are fully integrated medical facilities and also contain most of the modern western diagnostic abilities. Experience in China is considered valuable as practitioners commonly treat 40-80 patients per day.

Acupuncturist Licenses

Acupuncture is a regulated profession and each State requires every Acupuncturist to be licensed in the State that they practice.  Certification exams are given by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) and accepted in all states with acupuncture legislation, except California which maintains its own exam. California currently maintains the highest requirements of training to sit for their board exam, and has the largest number of licensed acupuncturists in their state. Each state requires Continuing Education Units to maintain licensure.

Acupuncturist titles are state-regulated. Common titles include:

  • Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.)
  • Acupuncture Physician (AP)
  • Doctor of Oriental Medicine (DOM)
  • Oriental Medicine Doctor (OMD)
  • Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM)

Maryland, Nevada and Oregon were the first states to pass laws regulating Acupuncture in 1973, with many other states following shortly after. These laws have advanced the level of the practice and improved public safety by licensing practitioners. Alabama, Delaware, Kansas, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wyoming still have no acupuncture regulation; and only physicians are legally allowed to practice acupuncture in these states.

Some states allow an apprenticeship style of training. Apprenticeship requires that a student has studied under a licensed acupuncturist for a regulated number of hours. The student then becomes eligible to take the board exams.  While the law does not require the completion of an internship or residency after the formal schooling and exams, the mentoring of newly licensed acupuncturists by more experienced practitioners is common.

Some acupuncturists have immigrated to the United States from other Asian countries, such as China, Japan, and Korea. These Acupuncturists may have been trained by schools in their own country and therefore may be eligible to be licensed in the United States after passing the required board examinations. Both the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) and the California Acupuncture Board offer their exams in English, Chinese, and Korean languages.

Other professions that are allowed to practice acupuncture, such as veterinary practitioners, have varying levels of training. In order to be certified by the American Board of Medical Acupuncture, a physician must complete 300 hours of training, including 100 clinic hours on the practice of acupuncture.

National Acupuncture Organizations

There are many organizations that exist to promote, educate, and expand the field of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.  We have listed several of them below:

State Acupuncture Boards

Each State with acupuncture legislation maintains its own specific laws and regulation on the practice of acupuncture.  The links below will connect you to each State’s website.

Alabama No Legislation
Alaska Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development
Arizona State of Arizona Board of Acupuncture Examiners
Arkansas ArkansasState Board of Acupuncture
California California Acupuncture Board
Colorado Colorado Office of Acupuncture Licensure
Connecticut Connecticut Department of Public Health: Acupuncture Licensure
Delaware No Legislation
District of Columbia DC Board of Medicine - Acupuncture
Florida Florida Board of Acupuncture
Georgia Composite State Board of Medical Examiners
Hawaii Hawaii Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs
Idaho Idaho State Board of Acupuncture
Illinois Division of Professional Regulation
Indiana Indiana Professional Licensing Agency
Iowa Iowa Board of Medicine
Kansas No Legislation
Kentucky Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure
Louisiana Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners
Maine Office of Licensing and Registration
Maryland Maryland Board of Acupuncture
Massachusetts Committee on Acupuncture
Michigan Michigan Board of Acupuncture
Minnesota Board of Medical Practice
Mississippi No Legislation
Missouri Missouri Acupuncturist Advisory Committee
Montana Montana Board of Medical Examiners
Nebraska Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services
Nevada Nevada State Board of Oriental Medicine
New Hampshire New Hampshire Board of Acupuncture Licensing
New Jersey Acupuncture Examining Board
New Mexico New Mexico Board of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
New York Office of the Professions
North Carolina North Carolina Acupuncture Licensing Board
North Dakota No Legislation
Ohio State Medical Board of Ohio
Oklahoma No Legislation
Oregon Oregon Medical Board
Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine
Rhode Island Office of Health Professionals Regulation
South Carolina South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners
South Dakota No Legislation
Tennessee Advisory Committee for Acupuncture
Texas Texas State Board of Acupuncture Examiners
Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing
Vermont Office of Professional Regulation
Virginia Acupuncture Advisory Board
Washington Washington State Department of Health
West Virginia West Virginia Board of Acupuncture
Wisconsin Wisconsin Department of Regulation & Licensing
Wyoming No Legislation

Acupuncture Schools Listed by State

The following chart lists most of the acupuncture schools in the United States. Each school offers variations in their training programs to fit their own philosophy.  This list is comprised of schools with accreditation, candidate programs awaiting accreditation, and non-accredited schools.

Arizona Arizona School of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Tuscon
  Asian Institute of Medical Studies Tuscon
  Phoenix Institute of Herbal Medicine & Acupuncture Phoenix
  RainStar University Scottsdale
  Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine Tempe
California Academy of Chinese Culture and Health Sciences Oakland
  Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine College Berkley
  Alhambra Medical University Alhambra
  American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine San Francisco
  American University of Complimentary Medicine Los Angeles
  Dongguk Royal University Los Angeles
  Emperor's College of Traditional Oriental Medicine Santa Monica
  Five Branches Institute: College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Santa Cruz, San Jose
  Kyung San University Garden Grove
  Pacific College of Oriental Medicine San Diego
  Samra University of Oriental Medicine Los Angeles
  South Baylo University Anaheim, Los Angeles
  Southern California University of Health Sciences Whittier
  Southern California University (SOMA) Los Angeles
  University of East-West Medicine Sunnyvale
  Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine Los Angeles
Colorado Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine Denver
  Institute of Taoist Education and Acupuncture, Inc. Louisville
  Southwest Acupuncture College Boulder
Connecticut Connecticut University of Bridgeport Bridgeport
Florida Academy for Five Element Acupuncture Hallandale
  Acupuncture & Massage College Miami
  Atlantic Institute of Oriental Medicine Ft. Lauderdale
  Dragon Rises College of Oriental Medicine Gainesville
  East West College of Natural Medicine Sarasota
  Florida College of Integrative Medicine Orlando
Georgia Edgewood College of Georgia, School of Oriental Medicine Norcross
Hawaii Institute of Clinical Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Honolulu
  Traditional Chinese Medical College Kamuela
  World Medicine Institute, College of Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine Honolulu
Illinois Midwest College of Oriental Medicine Chicago
  National University of Health Sciences Lombard
  Pacific College of Oriental Medicine Chicago
Kansas Kansas College of Chinese Medicine Witchita
Maryland Tai Sophia Institute Laurel
Massachusetts New England School of Acupuncture Watertown
Minnesota American Academy of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Roseville
  Minnesota College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine c/o Northwestern Health Sciences University Bloomington
New Jersey Eastern School of Acupuncture Montclair
New Mexico Southwest Acupuncture College Albuquerque and Santa Fe
New York New York Chiropractic College Seneca Falls
  New York College of Health Professions Brooklyn
  New York College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Mineola
  Pacific College of Oriental Medicine New York City
  Swedish Institute, College of Health Sciences New York City
  Tri-State College of Acupuncture New York City
  Touro College New York City
  Atlantic University of Chinese Medicine Mars Hill
North Carolina Daoist Traditions College of Chinese Medical Arts Asheville
  Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine Sugar Grove
Ohio American Institute of Alternative Medicine Columbus
Oregon National College of Natural Medicine Portland
  Oregon College of Oriental Medicine Portland
Pennsylvania WON Institute of Graduate Studies Glenside
Texas Academy of Oriental Medicine at Austin Austin
  American College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Houston
  Texas College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Austin
Washington Bastyr University Kenmore
  Seattle Institute of Oriental Medicine Seattle
  Wu Hsing Tao School Seattle
  Midwest College of Oriental Medicine Racine
© 2017 altMD, LLC. All rights reserved. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of altMD's terms of service and privacy policy and cookie policy and Health Disclaimer. The material on this site is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.