Education / Careers

California Licensure Requirements

To obtain a license to practice acupuncture in the State of California, practitioners must complete the educational requirements established by the California Acupuncture Board (CAB) and pass a written examination administered by the CAB. There are three ways to fulfill the CAB educational requirements and qualify to sit for the licensure examination:

  1. Obtain a masters degree from an educational institution approved by the CAB;
  2. Complete a tutorial program (similar to an apprenticeship) approved by the CAB; or
  3. Complete a foriegn education program which is equivalent to the curriculum requirements of the CAB.

There are currently 30 educational institutions and programs approved by the CAB (16 within California and 14 in other states). A list of CAB-approved educational institutions may be found on the California Acupuncture Board website.

The State of California does not recognize out-of-state licensing for practice within California.

Requirements for Licensure in Other States

The requirements for licensure in other states vary by state. The scope of practice for Oriental medical practitioners also varies considerably by state. To determine the specific requirements and scope for another state, you should contact the licensing authority in that state.

Seven states (Alabama, Delaware, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wyoming) lack legislation or regulation allowing for the practice of acupuncture by licensed, registered, or certified acupuncturists.

Doctorate Programs

The California Acupuncture Board (CAB) does not regulate or approve doctorate programs in Oriental medicine.

A number of post-graduate doctorate programs in acupuncture and Oriental medicine do exist. Although many of these doctorate programs are candidates for professional accreditation, there are no national accrediting agencies currently recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Applicants for doctorate programs should inquire with individual educational institutions to determine their current accreditation status.


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