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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Accreditation?

Accreditation is a rigorous voluntary process of self study and external peer review. The accreditation process is carried out by a private, non-governmental agency that grants public recognition to an institution or program that meets certain established and nationally accepted standards or requirements for quality education and training. These accreditation standards cover curriculum, faculty qualifications, admissions requirements, finances, administration, facilities, learning resources and a number of other important areas.

What training is required to become an acupuncturist?

You must graduate from an approved and/or accredited school of acupuncture with a Masters Degree in Acupuncture or Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.  Each state has different licensing requirements - Check acupuncture licensing and certification requirements in your areaMedical Doctors and other health care providers can sometimes practice acupuncture with less training. Again, check your local acupuncture laws and legislation.There are certifications available for drug detoxification auricular (ear) acupuncture that allows a technician to place needles in the ear.  For more info on this check out

Are there entry requirements for attending school?

In general, 60 semester units or 90 quarter units of accredited college courses is required to matriculate into any acupuncture school. In some States a bachelors degree is required as well as a masters in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in order to practice. Check individual state requirements.

What should I look for in a school?

Some of the factors you may want to consider are: Is the school accredited?Is the school approved by the licensing board of the state I intend to practice? Does the school offer financial aid? Does the school have a high board licensing pass rate? Does the school offer a comprehensive and rigorous program that is at least 3,000 hours over minimally 3 1/2 years? Does the school truly integrate body-mind-spirit approach to the medicine or does it merely say it does? Finally, make sure to visit the school's website and if possible, the physical facilities to talk to students, faculty and alumni

What is the value of attending a school that is accredited or that has candidacy status?

Nearly all U.S. states that license acupuncturists require graduation from a program that is accredited or that has candidacy status (some also recognize certain foreign programs or state-approved programs that are not accredited). Schools are required to meet certain standards and undergo rigorous process of self-study and examination regularly to maintain accreditation. A school that is accredited also means it can offer students financial aid from the federal government.

Which colleges are accredited or have candidacy status with the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM)?

The following link to the accreditation agency's website will give an updated list of schools that are currently accredited or candidates for accreditation?

What is the difference between accreditation and candidacy?

Candidacy is a pre-accreditation status that the Commission grants to a program if the program can demonstrate that it has the likely ability to gain accreditation. Most states that license acupuncturists accept graduation from a candidate program as meeting the educational requirements for licensure. Currently, however, unless a program is also accredited by a regional accrediting agency, candidacy status does not enable a program to provide federally funded financial assistance.

How does going to an accredited/candidate college of acupuncture and Oriental medicine affect my ability to get licensed to practice in a state?

Most U.S. states that license acupuncturists require graduation from a program that is accredited or that has candidacy status. In addition, virtually all states require passage of the national certification exam administered by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) to be eligible for state licensure. NCCAOM specifically requires graduation from an ACAOM accredited or candidate program to be eligible to sit for NCCAOM's certification exam(s). If there are particular states that you would like to practice in, you should contact the applicable state licensure authorities to see if they license the practice of acupuncture and Oriental medicine and to find out the educational requirements for licensure.

What is the difference between an acupuncture program and an Oriental medicine program? Is one preferable over the other?

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine programs share similar curricula, with one important difference: Oriental medicine programs include the study of Chinese herbal medicine while acupuncture programs do not. This means that acupuncture programs tend to be shorter in terms of credits and hours than Oriental medicine programs, since herbal medicine educational requirements are fairly substantial.Since some state acupuncture licensing boards require training in Chinese herbal medicine, students who are planning to apply for licensure in these states are advised to enroll in an Oriental medicine program. Apart from this important pragmatic consideration, it is not possible to say whether one type of program is preferable to the other. Chinese herbal medicine is an effective and widely practiced Oriental medicine modality; however, some practitioners favor a practice based primarily or entirely on acupuncture. Finally, it should be noted that the educational standards that ACAOM has developed for doctoral level training do require substantial advanced training in Chinese herbal medicine.

How long does it take to graduate?

Programs around the country vary from school to school but generally training programs range from 3-4 years, including internship.

What degree will I obtain when I graduate?

Accredited schools offer Masters Degree as an entry level degree. Non-accredited schools may offer certificate or other degrees.

Is there a doctorate program for acupuncture and Oriental medicine?

Yes, the accreditating body just released the requirements for a clinical doctoral degree (DOM) in Oriental Medicine and schools around the country are just starting to offer such program, which is optional after you complete the Masters Degree programs. For licensure purpose, it is not required to obtain a doctoral degree at this time.

Where can I find a school of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine?

The best place to find an acupuncture school is on the internet. We have a comprehensive listing of Acupuncture schools around the nation. Search Schools on!

What is the tuition cost of school?

Tuition costs vary from school to school and from state to state. However, it generally ranges from $30,000 to $40,000 for the entire program of training.

Is financial aid available?

Accreditated schools can offer federal government-guaranteed student loans that cover the full tuition and money for living. There are also limited grants available. Check with the school's financial aid office.

How much do acupuncturists make?

According to Payscale's Real-Time Salary Survey,, the median yearly salary for acupuncturists in years 1-4 is $45,000, with those employed by a hospital earning an average of $49,000.A licensed acupuncturist after one year out of school can expect to make $45,000 a year and up. After five years in practice, one's income should approach $100,000. More and more acupuncturists are joining group practices that also include chiropractic and medical doctors.

What is the earning potential for a licensed practitioner of acupuncture and Oriental medicine?

The earning potential for a licensed practitioner depends on his or her skill level, ability to communicate and business acumen. $200,000-300,000 a year is not unrealistic within 10 years in practice.

What is a typical day for an acupuncturist?

A typical day for an acupuncturist would include interfacing and administering treatments to patients, counseling patient about emotional and life style issues, teaching patients about diet and nutrition,, conferring with other medical professionals, reviewing and writing patient medical reports.  Most acupuncturists own their practice and also manage the business side of the practice which includes marketing and maintaining financial records.

Information about credentials

While more often than not, the abbreviation after an acupuncturists name is L.Ac. (Licensed Acupuncturist), there are many other certifications and degrees that practitioners will proudly list. Here are a few of the most common abbreviations used and what they mean.  If you know of a credential that you would like to see added to this list, please let us know.Information about credentials - Click Here

How many acupuncturists are there?

There are approximately 18,000 licensed acupuncturists in the U.S. Out of that number, it is estimated that about 12,000 are actively in practice and that over 50% of those practice in the coastal states of California and New York.

Are acupuncturists considered primary care physicians?

Yes, acupuncturists are considered primary care physicians in many states including California.

Do patients need to be referred by a medical doctor to see an acupuncturist?

In majority of states, no referral by the medical doctor is necessary to see an acupuncturist. Check individual state requirements.

Once I have graduated from school, what do I have to do to get licensed?

You must graduate from a school that is approved by the licensing board of the state you intend to practice. Once you fulfill the licensing requirements of that state, you can then apply and take the licensing exam. There is also a national certifying exam that is accepted by some states. Check individual state requirements.

I offer Seminars and Classes. How do I list my events on your events calendar?

The events directory is viewed on and is emailed to over 15,000 licensed acupuncturists every month. This is an excellent opportunity to promote any CEU classes, seminars or events that you may have. An annual event subscription is good for an unlimited number of events during the year. All events are listed by date in the directory and are searchable by topic. An event listing includes website links, contact information, and a full page where you can describe the event. To add your events to our comprehensive and easy to use directory of classes and events, select the “List an Event” option at the top of the screen.

How come there are no practitioners listed in my area?

There are a few reasons why there may not be practitioners listed in your area. The first reason is that the directory is an 'opt-in' service. The acupuncturists in your area may not be aware of our website or have chosen not to list their practice on our website. Please let your acupuncturist know they are not listed and encourage your acupuncturist to use our practitioner listing service. The other reason is that there are actually no practitioners in your area.

How come I am in the free listing section multiple times and one of my listings shows an association affiliation and the other one does not?

If you have a free listing it only displays the business address and phone number. It doesn’t display any association affiliations. However, some associations use us as their directory and they manage the listings with the association logos which have a link to the association website. Like the free listings set up by individual practitioners they are displayed after the paid listings. Should I delete my free listing and just list my practice through the association? You can, however the benefits of maintaining your own account allow you to readily update your practice information and receive our monthly practitioner newsletter containing the latest news and research on acupuncture and Chinese medicine.

How do I change my password?

Log into your account and select the ‘settings’ option on the home page to update your login and account information.

How do I update the information displayed with the association logo in the free listings section?

The listing is maintained by the association whose logo appears under the listing. Please contact the association directly to update your information.

Do I have to pay to list my practice on

You can list your practice for free however free listings only show in the directory after the paid listings and only display business address and phone number. To link your website, list specialties or show a photo you will need to upgrade to a paid listing.

Do I have to contact you to make changes on my account?

While we are always available to assist with any questions changes can be made to your listing at any time by logging into your account and selecting the ‘manage practitioner listings’ option.

Why should I list my practice with and are still the most visited acupuncture sites in the world and are still in the top ten for the most popular keyword searches for acupuncture on Google and Yahoo including, "acupuncture", "acupuncture infertility", "acupuncture weight loss", "acupuncture history" and "acupuncture points" and we receive between 5-7,000 visits per day on our site.   We also allocate over 80% of our marketing budget to sponsored advertising with Google.List your practice now!

How do I post a classified ad on

You are able to participate in our Acupuncture Community Classifieds. Looking to hire an acupuncturist or have space to rent?  Contact us to post an ad in the Acufinder classifieds.  Please be sure to include your name, address and contact information along with the ad copy. Classifieds remain posted for 30 days after which they are removed.  We will only post the classified if it is appropriate.  This is a free service that provides.

How does the personalized patient newsletter work?

The personalized patient newsletter is one of the great benefits of a paid listing. The newsletter is created by and is complete and ready to send. It is the perfect monthly marketing tool for the busy practitioner. Once a month, your patient e-mail newsletter will be sent to your patients with 3-4 short articles about the benefits of acupuncture and Oriental medicine. Each article is specifically written for acupuncture patients. The top of the newsletter will have your picture and address from your listing on This constantly reminds your patients about you and the benefits you offer. You can send your newsletter to an unlimited number of patients and "potential patients." Leave a sign-up sheet at your front desk; ask for email addresses when you do public speaking. How do I invite people to receive a newsletter? To add your email addresses, you will login to a secure area and invite your patients and friends to receive your newsletter. Your patients will receive an invitation to receive this Free Monthly Newsletter. If they do not actively accept the invitation, they will not be sent the newsletter. They may unsubscribe at any time and their email address will not be sold, shared or used for any other purpose.If you would like your patients to start receiving our monthly newsletter upgrade your account today!

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