Acupuncture Practice Laws: Differences by State

Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine that originates from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) where tiny needles are inserted into the skin in specific locations to remedy pain, certain diseases, and ailments.

U.S. Acupuncture Laws

Three agencies govern the practice of acupuncture within the U.S. First, the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) who is responsible for accrediting acupuncture programs and schools. The second is the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM), which oversees and educates applicants to ensure safe practices with sterile needles. The third is the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) that licenses applicants for practice.

Acupuncture laws vary by state, and each requires a different level of training and education before licensing. The highlights of each state regarding acupuncture licensing are:

Alabama – 100 hours of coursework and passing the NCCAOM exam.

Alaska – graduation from an accredited U.S. school of acupuncture then passing the NCCAOM exam.

Arizona – 1850 hours of education, 800 hours of clinical work and you must pass the NCCAOM exam.

Arkansas – 4-year college degree, 800 hours of clinical experience and passing the NCCAOM acupuncture and Chinese herbology exam.

California -3000 hours of study with an accredited acupuncture school, 50 hours of continued education every two years and a special herbal medicine exam.

Colorado – you only need to pass the NCCAOM acupuncture exam.

Connecticut – 1350 hours or formal education and 500 of clinical work. You must also pass the NCCAOM exam.

Delaware – 1800 hours of formal education with 300 clinical hours from an accredited school and a diploma in Oriental Medicine from NCCAOM.

District of Columbia – 3 years of academic study with 500 hours of clinical work and then the exam.

Florida – 2413 hours of study, 600 clinical hours, 1155 hours of traditional Oriental acupuncture diagnosis and treatment study along with 705 hours of Oriental medical theory, diagnosis, and treatment in acupuncture and related studies and 450 hours of herbal studies) before taking the NCCAOM exam.

Georgia – completion of an ACAOM accredited degree program.

Hawaii – 2175 hours of academic work in a scientific acupuncture program with 1515 of them focused on Oriental medicine and another 600 of clinical work plus the exam.

Idaho – 100 hours of training, 200 hours of practical application with 25 case studies and you have to pass the Idaho state exam.

Illinois – all you need in Illinois is an NCCAOM certification and 30 hours of continuing education every two years.

Indiana – 3 years at an accredited acupuncture program and then the exam.

Iowa – 3 years of school and an exam.

Kansas – completion of a medical naturopathy program and then your licensing exam.

Kentucky – 1800 hours with an ACAOM accredited school with 300 clinical hours, and you must pass the NCCAOM exam.

Louisiana – 3 years of formal education and passing the NCCAOM examination in acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.

Maine – 1000 hours of education, 300 clinical, a Baccalaureate degree along with a professional nursing license or physician’s assistant training and the NCCAOM exam.

Maryland – 1800 hours with an ACAOM school, 300 clinical hours and the exam.

Massachusetts – 1906 formal education hours with 600 focused on herbal medicine, 210 clinical hours with board certification in Board Chinese Herbology and the NCCAOM exam.

Michigan – 2-4 year degree, with 1705 in an acupuncture program, 660 of them clinical plus the NCCAOM exam.

Minnesota – NCCAOM certification.

Mississippi – degree from an NCCAOM or ACAOM school.

Missouri – degree from an NCCAOM or ACAOM school.

Montana – 1000 hours of education plus the exam.

Nebraska – 1725 educational hours, 500 clinical plus the test.

Nevada – 4-year degree in Oriental medicine, plus Nevada state testing.

New Hampshire – degree from an ACAOM school, plus Baccalaureate, registered nurse or physician’s assistant degree and the exam.

New Jersey – Baccalaureate degree plus state testing.

New Mexico – 2400 educational hours with 900 clinical plus the test.

New York – 4050 hours of education with nine semesters in bioscience.

North Carolina – 3-year ACAOM degree program with the exam.

North Dakota – must have a medical degree and 100 hours practicing acupuncture.

Ohio – 1725 hours at an ACAOM school and the exam.

Oklahoma – medical degree only.

Oregon – ACAOM school degree.

Pennsylvania – 2 years in an acupuncture program and licensing exam.

Rhode Island – 36 month/2500 hour program then the exam.

South Carolina – NCCAOM certification.

South Dakota – 100 hours of education then the exam.

Tennessee – apprentice program certified by ACAOM.

Texas – 1800 hours of education with 450 focused on herbal medicine, then the exam.

Utah – either NCCA or NCCAOM certification.

Vermont – 3-year degree program with 800 clinical hours.

Virginia – at least a 2-year degree program, 1000 hours with 250 clinical.

Washington – a diploma from ACAOM accredited school and apprenticeship, then the exam.

West Virginia – 1800 hours of education, 300 of clinical and then the test.

Wisconsin – 2 years of school then the NCCAOM exam.

Wyoming – a 4-year degree in acupuncture and Oriental medicine.