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:
- Most states require national board certification for TCM practitioners. Ironically, most states allow conventional medical doctors and chiropractors to practice acupuncture with little or no formal training.
- Practitioners must complete at least three years full-time schooling before they can become eligible for the national board certification. (This is offered by the Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).
- According to the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, all but a few states have regulations in place concerning the practice of acupuncture. This usually includes licensing requirements for non-MD practitioners and specifications on scope of practice for MDs and other health professionals..
- Most of these states require national board certification as a prerequisite for state certification or licensure.
So TCM is indeed quite carefully regulated.