In California, acupuncturists must be licensed by the California
Acupuncture Board (www.acupuncture.ca.gov),
who has established guidelines for education and practice.
They administer a licensing examination which is the most
comprehensive and difficult in the country. California acupuncturists
are trained and tested in all aspects of Chinese medicine
and in basic western medicine. The training required of all
licensees in California is as follows:
1) Completion of a four year course of study in Chinese
medicine and western medicine at an accredited acupuncture
2) A 1000 hour clinical internship.
3) One year of "pre-med" science courses.
4) This leads to a Master of Science Degree in Traditional
Chinese Medicine (MSTCM). The masters degree is the highest
degree available in the profession at this time.
5) A passing score on both the written and practical portions
of the state board exam.
In California acupuncturists are considered primary providers
of medical care. They are licensed to diagnose and treat patients
and can be reimbursed by workers compensation insurance and
by health insurance companies which cover acupuncture.
Nationally, standards of practice have been established by
NCCAOM, the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncture
and Oriental Medicine (www.nccaom.org).
The NCCAOM administers separate exams in both Acupuncture
and Herbal Medicine. All practitioners certified by this commission
or the state of California comply with strict requirements
for sterile needles.