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 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:

  1. TCM physicianMost 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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..
  4. Most of these states require national board certification as a prerequisite for state certification or licensure.

So TCM is indeed quite carefully regulated.