An Acupuncturist's Education

woman getting acupuncture done on her back

Licensure in acupuncture and Oriental medicine includes a postgraduate degree, or Masters. Some providers also choose to obtain a Doctor of Oriental Medicine. In China, acupuncture is offered alongside other medical training programs at universities. The Unites States has some of the strictest requirements for acupuncture education outside of China. Although individual states determine licensure requirements, most have adopted the standards established by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).

Undergraduate Studies

Similar to the requirements of medical schools, individuals applying to acupuncture college must first complete 2-4 years of undergraduate studies. These studies emphasize basic sciences, including general and organic chemistry, physics, biology, and psychology.

TCM Studies

Upon Successful completion of the required undergraduate studies, students accepted to an acupuncture postgraduate program begin a 3-4 year academic curriculum, including more than 3,500 hours of study in acupuncture,Oriental medecine theory and diagnosis, biomedicine, and Chinese herbology.

Each student must also complete over 660 hours of supervised clinical practice prior to graduation.


Once all coursework and clinical hours are completed, students are required to take national board examinations, administered by the NCCAOM. The state in which the applicant seeks licensure may require additional examination.

Continuing Education

Once licensed, each state requires the licensed acupuncturist to maintain a high level of clinical proficiency and knowledge of current techniques by attending a state specified number of continuing education hours. Failure to do so will result in revocation of the license.

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Align Acupuncture & Chiropractic
14679 SE Sunnyside Road Suite E
Happy Valley, OR 97015
(503) 597-7780