Requirements to Practice Acupuncture

Written by: American College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Acupuncture began getting Western exposure after a New York Times reporter received treatment for a surgery he had undergone. Within a year, the first legal clinic had been established on American soil. The practice has only grown since then, but regulations have grown with it. Here are some of the requirements a practicing acupuncturist must satisfy to practice.


The practice of alternative medicine is becoming more regulated by the year, so potential career seekers are expected to hold a degree from natural medicine schools. These schools prepare a student for all aspects of the practice, including how to diagnose symptoms using Western medical theories and ideologies.


A number of certificates are available in the field, and therapists will often pursue a different specialty from those programs. An herbal medicine degree, for example, would give an acupuncturist a little more saleability as he or she could prescribe as well as treat. It also helps therapists stay current on trends, and patients appreciate a therapist who is knowledgeable and well-practiced.


Even with a degree in healthcare administration, those with existing work experience are most likely to find employment on the competitive market of today. It’s important to take advantage of potential internships that may be offered by your school, or to request informational meetings with others already in the field.

Final Thoughts

Acupuncture has managed to survive over the years because it is based on principles that truly heal patients. Though there are some myths regarding the practice, today’s therapists are required to receive several certifications that verify their education.