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Professional Credentials for Acupuncturists

M.D. (D.O. for Doctor of Osteopathy)
Medical Acupuncture Certification: American Board of Medical Acupuncture—The ABMA offers certification to physicians who, after medical school, complete a formal course of study that consists of 200 hours of acupuncture-specific study and training. The program must comply with regulations of the World Health Organization and the World Federation of Acupuncture and Moxibustion societies.

M.A. (also the M.A.O.M.—Masters in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine)
The Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) is a specialized accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The ACAOM establishes requirements for accredited masters programs. Each approved program must include a minimum of 4,000 hours of coursework, of which 1,200 hours must be completed at the doctorate level.<

Every state has different licensing requirements. In most states, certification from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) is required to obtain a license. The NCCAOM offers three routes to certification: formal education, apprenticeship or a combination of the two. Formal education entails schooling from institutions that meet NCCAOM standards and ACAOM requirements. An apprenticeship requires students to complete 4,000 hours of training, working with a credited program for three to six years. Certification can be obtained as well through a combination of both. To be certified, acupuncturists must also take four tests over two days: the foundation of oriental medicine, acupuncture techniques, point location and biomedicine.

The Acupuncture Society of America also offers four different levels of certification. Basic: 100 hours. Intermediate: 200 hours. Advanced: 300 hours. And Master: 400 to 500 hours. Certification takes about four months for every 100 hours. At the end of the course, completion of an exam is required for certification.