Most acupuncture practitioners are required to take board exams offered by the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) to become certified practitioners.
More than 40 states and The District of Columbia have laws regulating acupuncture practice.
Local acupuncture regulatory agencies may offer an additional certification process in certain states.
The FDA approved acupuncture needles for use by licensed practitioners in 1996. The FDA requires that sterile, nontoxic needles be used and that they be labeled for single use by qualified practitioners only. Practitioners use single use sterile, nontoxic disposable needles today.
More than 50 schools and colleges of acupuncture and Oriental Medicine operate in the United States, many of which offer master’s-level programs and are accredited by or have been granted candidacy status by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM). ACAOM standards for a master's-level degree require a 3-year program (approximately 2,000 hours of study) for acupuncture and a 4-year program for Oriental medicine, which includes acupuncture and herbal therapy. In recent years, some schools have begun to offer programs for Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine with an additional 1,200 hours of clinical-based doctoral training.
Postgraduate training programs in medical acupuncture for physicians also exist. A Medical Doctor who also receives a license in Acupuncture is often referred to as a Medical Acupuncturist.