Becoming an acupuncturist in California
- Education: In California, acupuncture practitioners must have a Master’s degree or Doctoral degree in acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) from an accredited acupuncture school or college. This typically involves completing a 3-4 year program at an accredited acupuncture school or college. Acupuncture schools in California are plentiful and the state has become a leader in the field of acupuncture education.
- Licensing exams: After completing your acupuncture education, you will need to pass California Acupuncture Licensing Examination (CALE) in order to become licensed to practice acupuncture in California1.
- Continuing education: In California, acupuncture practitioners are required to complete 50 CEU’s of continuing education every two years in order to maintain their license to practice acupuncture. This may involve attending seminars, workshops, or classes on acupuncture and TCM topics in order to keep your knowledge and skills up to date.
- Certification: In California, acupuncture practitioners may also choose to pursue certification through the NCCAOM in order to specialize in certain areas of acupuncture or to demonstrate a higher level of expertise. Certification through the NCCAOM requires additional education and training beyond the requirements for licensing.
It is important to note that these are the general requirements for practicing acupuncture in California. It is a good idea to check with the California Acupuncture Board for the most up-to-date information on the requirements for practicing acupuncture in California.
What should I study in order to pass the California Acupuncture Board Licensing (CALE) Exam?
In order to pass the CALE, you will need to study a variety of topics related to acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Some of the topics that you may need to study include:
- Acupuncture theory: This includes the principles and theories of TCM, such as the eight principles (Ba Gang), organs (Zang Fu), meridians/channels (Jing Luo), six stages (Liu Jing), four levels (Wei, Qi, Ying, Xue), five elements (Wu Xing), Qi, blood, and body fluids (Qi, Xue, Jin Ye), and the triple burner (San Jiao).
- Acupuncture points: You will need to learn about the various acupuncture points on the body and how to use acupuncture needles to stimulate these points to promote the flow of Qi (vital energy) and blood in the body.
- Herbal medicine: You will need to study the principles and theories of herbal medicine, as well as the properties and indications of various herbs used in TCM.
- Acupuncture techniques: You will need to study various acupuncture techniques, such as scalp acupuncture, ear acupuncture, and facial acupuncture, and learn how to properly perform these techniques.
- Diagnosis: You will need to study the principles and techniques of diagnosis in TCM, including how to gather and interpret information about a patient’s symptoms, physical examination, and medical history.
- Treatment planning: You will need to learn how to develop treatment plans based on the principles of TCM and the specific needs of each patient.
- Safety and sterilization: You will need to study the principles of safe and sterile acupuncture practice and learn how to properly sterilize acupuncture needles and other equipment.
This is just a general overview of the topics that you may need to study in order to pass the California Acupuncture Board Licensing Exam. It is important to check with the California Acupuncture Board for the most up-to-date information on the specific topics that are covered on the exam.
California acupuncturists have graduated from the
Yo San University Master’s Degree Program
The job outlook for acupuncturists in California is generally positive. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of acupuncturists is expected to grow 18% from 2020 to 2030, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is expected to be driven by increasing demand for alternative and complementary healthcare services, as well as the growing recognition of acupuncture as a effective treatment for a variety of conditions.
In California specifically, the demand for acupuncture services may be influenced by factors such as the state’s large and diverse population, the prevalence of chronic conditions and injuries, and the availability of insurance coverage for acupuncture services. It is also worth noting that the job outlook for acupuncturists may vary depending on factors such as the specific region of California in which you plan to practice and the level of competition in the local job market.
It is important to note that the job outlook for acupuncturists is just one factor to consider when planning a career in acupuncture. It is a good idea to research the job market in your area and to consider other factors such as your own interests, skills, and goals when deciding whether acupuncture is the right career path for you.
It is difficult to accurately determine the number of practicing acupuncturists in California versus the rest of the United States, as the data on this topic may not be complete or up to date. However, according to the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM), as of 2021, there were approximately 15,000 certified acupuncturists in California. This represents a significant portion of the approximately 50,000 certified acupuncturists in the United States as a whole.
It is important to note that the number of practicing acupuncturists in any given state or region may vary depending on a variety of factors, such as population size, demand for acupuncture services, and the availability of acupuncture education and training programs. Additionally, the number of practicing acupuncturists may change over time due to factors such as retirements, relocations, and changes in the laws and regulations governing the practice of acupuncture.
1. From California Acupuncture Board, Dec, 2022 – “California does not recognize out-of-state licensing (reciprocity) nor does it accept for licensure those individuals who take and pass the national examination (administered by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM)). Therefore, licensees from other states or those individuals who have passed NCCAOM’s examination may not practice until they have qualified for, taken and passed the California examination.
The Acupuncture Board administers the California Acupuncture Licensing Examination (CALE) and offers the examination in Mandarin, Korean and English. The CALE is based on and validated by an occupational analysis. The passing score on the examination is determined by subject matter experts (SMEs) who use a criterion-referenced scoring method.”