When choosing an acupuncture practitioner, you may have questions. Is it important for an acupuncturist to be certified? What does certification mean? Is there an acupuncture license?
First, do not be alarmed if your acupuncturist does not have a license. Until just a few years ago, licensing acupuncturists was uncommon, and even today there are still 20 states that do not offer a license in acupuncture.
If you live in a state that has licensing, you can be fairly confident in the aptitude of your practitioner. However, if your state does not offer licensing, some proof of skill level is important when entrusting your wellness to an acupuncture health professional.
Many practitioners choose to obtain a national certification through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) organization. In order to earn the certification title of Diplomate, the acupuncturist must pass a challenging examination. In some states this certification is a basic requirement in obtaining a license.
In order to even sit for the examination, the candidate must first have many hours in formal education in Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture, or a minimum of 4000 hours in apprenticeship, or a combination of both formal education and apprenticeship.
After passing the examination and receiving the initial certification, the practitioner who wishes to remain certified must continue lifelong education in acupuncture by taking additional classes to earn Professional Development Activity points (PDA) and apply for re-certification with NCCAOM every four years.
More people each year are discovering the power and benefits of acupuncture. As the number of people looking for services grows, so does the governmental concern to make sure that citizens are protected.
So, it is important that there is proof that your acupuncture health professional is competent. A license or NCCAOM certification will assure you that your practitioner is knowledgeable. Re-certification shows someone continuing to improve their proficiency, which will benefit you even more.