Do You Need a License to Be an Acupuncturist?

Acupuncture is one of the most popular and sought-after types of alternative medicine. And why wouldn’t it be? The potential benefits of acupuncture are incredible — this form of medicine has been in use for thousands of years.

As someone who appreciates this health and wellness practice, you may be interested in expanding your career and offering services as an acupuncturist.

But before you move forward, consider the legal requirements. For example, do you need a license to be an acupuncturist? We’re going to answer that question and more in this article.

If you need legal guidance to ensure your health and wellness business is in compliance, reach out to the Center for Health and Wellness Law to discuss the specific details of your case.

Requirements for Licensure as an Acupuncturist

Every state has its own laws in place regarding the licensure requirements for acupuncturists. But most states in the U.S. do require some form of license for acupuncturists.

Great — you just put some paperwork together and take a certification exam, right? Not exactly.

You will likely need to complete some form of higher education focused on acupuncture from an accredited institution. And then, depending on the requirements of your particular state, you will still need to meet various criteria and likely have to pass a certification exam.

We aren’t going to cover the requirements to be an acupuncturist in every state here, but let’s take a deep dive into the requirements for one state: Florida. That way, you get an idea of what you may encounter as you pursue an acupuncture career in your state.

(And if you want help obtaining a license in your state, contact our law firm. We’ll walk you through the requirements, step by step.)

Basic Requirements

The general requirements you will need to meet if you hope to get your acupuncturist license in Florida include:

  • Being proficient in English
  • Being a minimum of 21 years of age
  • Completing an approved training program
  • Passing the acupuncturist exam offered by the state board
  • Completing an acupuncturist application and paying the license application

Education and Training Requirements

You will need to meet several education and training requirements before your acupuncturist license can be approved in Florida. These requirements include:

  • Completion of at least 60 credits at an accredited postsecondary institution
  • Completion of an authorized three- or four-year course of study in oriental medicine and acupuncture

Once you have completed your acupuncturist education and training program, you will need to complete the Florida examination for acupuncturist licensure from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). This will include modules that consist of:

  • Point locations
  • Biomedicine
  • Foundations of oriental medicine
  • Acupuncture
  • Chinese herbology
  • More

Key Takeaways

Of course, these are just the basic requirements for one state. But most states will present similar hoops to jump through if you hope to become a licensed acupuncturist.

Most states make the requirements to become an acupuncturist available on state government websites, but keep in mind that these rules can be confusing, outdated or just plain wrong.

And seemingly minor mistakes as you pursue your license could wreck your ability to achieve your acupuncturist dreams. That’s why it’s important to proceed with caution, making absolutely certain that you have the right list of requirements and know how you’re going to meet them.

Master’s Degree or Doctorate for Acupuncture?

Most states require formal education in Oriental medicine from an accredited institution before you can become a licensed acupuncturist.

And that means you have a choice to make: master’s degree or doctorate?

In most cases, states accept either, although some states are beginning to lean toward the doctorate route.

Doctoral programs for acupuncture can take as long as six years to complete, while master’s programs can take three to four years. So, if you’re eager to get licensed sooner, the master’s degree may be the way to go.

Ultimately, it’s up to you and based on the requirements of your state. But take some time to make an informed decision about your educational path to becoming an acupuncturist.

What if I’m Already Doing Acupuncture Without a License?

Most states require a license for anyone who wants to administer acupuncture or related treatments. If yours is one of the few states that don’t require licensure, then doing acupuncture without a license is likely fine, as long as you have met your state’s other requirements.

However, if you are working as an acupuncturist without a license in a state that requires licensure, you are risking potential civil and criminal penalties. These penalties can be severe, including but not limited to massive fines and criminal charges.

Similarly, if you were once licensed but that license is now expired, you could be risking penalties that put your business and livelihood on the line.

Don’t panic. If you’re worried about whether your acupuncture business is in compliance, reach out to a qualified attorney as soon as possible. The team at the Center for Health and Wellness Law will be happy to give you an honest assessment of your situation, as well as a detailed road map to help you and your business move forward.

Make Sure Your Acupuncture Business Is in Compliance

Most states require acupuncturists to obtain and maintain a professional license before working as an acupuncturist.

If you have questions about whether your business requires licensure, are confused as to why your acupuncturist license application was denied, or you want to be sure your business is in compliance with all applicable laws, do not hesitate to contact the dedicated and passionate team at the Center for Health and Wellness Law, LLC.

You can reach us through our convenient contact form or by phone at (608) 579-1267 to schedule your free consultation today.