NCCAOM Educational Requirements

The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) is the national certifying board for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in the United States.

45 of our 50 states already have standards for the practice of acupuncture. The NCCAOM Board standards and examination are recognized and required by 44* of these 45 states to determine eligibility for practice of acupuncture.

NCCAOM table of U.S. state laws

To become a nationally board certified acupuncturist you must pass the NCCAOM standards. These standards include:

  • Two to four years of undergraduate college or university education, including western sciences.
  • At least three additional academic years in a professional program in acupuncture. This must be a resident program and must:
    • be a minimum of 105 semester credits or 1905 hours. (Most programs are 3000 hours).
    • include at least 450 hours in biomedical clinical sciences
    • have a clinical component that includes at least 660 hours of clinical training
    • include at least 705 hours in Oriental medical theory, diagnosis and treatment techniques in acupuncture and related studies
After meeting all of the above requirements** the student must then pass the NCCAOM National Board Examinations, including both written and practical components.

Only after meeting all of these requirements may one be called an NCCAOM Nationally Board Certified Acupuncturist and use the title Diplomate in Acupuncture (NCCAOM) or Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM)

*California requires only its own examinations, which exceed the requirements of the NCCAOM.

**Though rare it is possible to sit for the NCCAOM Board examinations if one has a minimum of 4,000 contact hours over a three-to-six-year period as an apprentice with a qualified acupuncturist who has at least five years experience prior to the beginning of the apprenticeship. The preceptor’s practice must be at a minimum level of 500 acupuncture patient visits with a minimum of 100 different patients each year of the apprenticeship program.
© 2015 Michigan Association of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine

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