How do you become an acupuncturist?

In the U.S., most of us go to a 4-year graduate school, and a few can opt for a 4-year apprenticeship instead. These accredited schools are independent of other universities, and graduates receive a Masters of Science. You may see MSOM (Master of Science, Oriental Medicine) or MSTCM (Master of Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine) after some names or on framed degrees. Besides Eastern medical philosophy, acupuncture and herbs, students take several “western” medicine classes and complete 2.5 years of internships.

Graduates then sit for a minimum of 4 national board exams. Once all 4 are passed, an acupuncturist can apply to their state medical board for a license to practice. Once granted, we get our title L. Ac. In essence, a practicing acupuncturist should be licensed by the state, and that implies their national certification is up-to-date.
The certification commission requires many CEU’s (continuing education units) to be met every 4 years. For any acupuncturists interested in going beyond their “General Practice” focus, they can work on a specialty this way. Fertility is a specialty several acupuncturists follow.


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