Choosing a good Acupuncturist is an important decision to make when it comes to your health care needs. You will trust this person for their personality and communication skills, services provided, professionalism, etc. Not only do you want your Acupuncturist to be personable, you would want them to be knowledgeable. Whether you are choosing a Certified or Licensed Acupuncturist, it pays to do as much research as you can.
Certified vs. Licensed Acupuncturist
There are different types of training when becoming an Acupuncturist.
A Certified Acupuncturist typically consists of Chiropractors, Medical Doctors (MDs), Physical Therapists (PTs), and Detox Techs.
A Licensed Acupuncturist is an acupuncture practitioner who is licensed by the appropriate state authority. Certification alone does not meet the licensure requirement.
Comparison of Certified and Licensed Acupuncturist
Certified Acupuncturists: Practices acupuncture with 100-300 hours of training; PTs can practice with 27 hours of training
Licensed Acupuncturists: Practices acupuncture with 2,700-3,500 hours of training averaging 3-4 years
Certified Acupuncturists: National Board of Chiropractic Examiners acupuncture exam requires zero hours of clinical training in acupuncture
Licensed Acupuncturists: Accredited Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine requires an average of 1,000 hours of clinic internship training under licensed doctors & senior licensed acupuncturists
Certified Acupuncturists: Attends weekend seminars, or home study, or video taped lectures, or online courses
Licensed Acupuncturists: Master’s level, on-site training at a nationally accredited school or college of acupuncture
Continuing Education Units (CEUs):
Certified Acupuncturists: Some require CEUs and some do not – depends on which certification program is chosen
Licensed Acupuncturists: Required to do regular CEUs to maintain national certification
Certified Acupuncturists: Some require board exams and some do not – depends on which certification program is chosen
Licensed Acupuncturists: Required to pass the national certification exam in acupuncture and state medical boards in order to become licensed
Typical Course Load:
Acupuncture – Basic acupuncture points, point prescriptions, & point locations, Foundations; Herbal – Introduction to herbs and herbal formulas
Acupuncture – Comprehensive acupuncture points, Energetics, Meridians, Advanced needling techniques/theory, Point locations, Foundations, Auricular, Master Tong, Scalp, Extra Points, Acupuncture techniques; Herbal – Single herbs and herbal formulas; Pulse & Tongue Diagnosis;
Biomedicine – Including Pharmacology, Pathophysiology, Anatomy & Physiology, Physical Assessment, Herb-drug interaction; Nutritional & Lifestyle Therapy; Mind-body exercise; Ethics
-Chiropractors, MDs, PTs – Pain and basic ailments;
-Detox Techs – Addiction & pain
Licensed Acupuncturists: A broad range of health issues, including chronic disease, pain, internal medicine, rehabilitation, and prevention
Type of Needling:
Certified Acupuncturists: “Dry Needling” – Needles inserted into muscle, fascias and tendon/bone junctions
Licensed Acupuncturists: Acupuncture – The insertion of fine needles into specific points along acupuncture meridians, muscle, fascias and tendon/bone junctions
It must be noted that there can be dually licensed Chiropractors, MDs, and PTs and that training for Certified & Licensed Acupuncturists may vary state to state. The search for a good Acupuncturist is different for each person, mainly because everyone has a different definition of what “good” means. Finding the right Acupuncturist starts with knowing what you value most in a practitioner, whether it be good bedside manner or impressive credentials. Do not settle for anything short of exemplary when it comes to your health!
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about what acupuncture can do, please visit Texas Acupuncture Clinic or visit us at our Facebook page at Tiffany Chiu at Texas Acupuncture Clinic.
References & Helpful Links:
Sample Chiropractic Certified Acupuncture Courses:
Sample Licensed Acupuncture Courses:
American Board of Chiropractic Acupuncture:
Council of Colleges of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine:
The Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine:
Texas Association of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine:
TAAOM Consumer Advisory:
National Certification Commission for Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine:
What makes a good Doctor: