As you have no doubt realized, the practice of TCM involves a lot more than just the insertion of acupuncture  needles. To become a competent and qualified TCM practitioner in the United States requires three to four years of full time post-graduate study at an accredited educational institution.
Just like your M.D., your TCM practitioner must adhere to rules that ensure that his or her licensing and training is up-to-date. Some fast facts about TCM regulation:
So TCM is indeed quite carefully regulated.
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) provides national board certification for TCM practitioners.
NCCAOM is a non-profit organization established in 1982 to promote nationally recognized standards of competency and safety for the practice of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and Oriental bodywork.
To be eligible to take the NCCAOM exam, an applicant must have successfully completed a formal education in acupuncture or Oriental medicine through an accredited school (although apprenticeship can allow for eligibility in certain cases). See the table for education requirements.
|Type of Certification||Requirements|
|Acupuncture||Must complete an accredited course of study that can document at least 1,905 hours (about 3 years full-time schooling) of didactic and clinic education.|
|Oriential Medicine||Must complete at least 2,625 hours (about 4 years of full-time study) of didactic and clinic coursework in both acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. In most states this level of education is considered equivalent to a masters level program.|
At present there are more than 50 master's programs for acupuncture and Oriental medicine in the United States. The Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) is reviewing post-graduate doctoral programs as a pilot process. As of September 2008, there were three doctoral programs accredited by the pilot program and an additional seven programs that have applied for review.
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM ), Alexandria, Virginia.
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine licensing and regulation  in the United States; state by state listings.