Licensing and Certifications



California Acupuncture Board

Student who plan to practice acupuncture in California must first obtain a state license, which requires qualifying for and passing California's written examination. The examination tests the competency of entry level acupuncturists.

In order to qualify for California Acupuncture Licensing Examination, an applicant must furnish satisfactory evidence of completion on one of the following:

  • A California Acupuncture Board (CAB) approved educational and training program consisting of a minimum of 2,348 hours of theoretical and clinical training.
  • A CAB-approved tutorial program in the practice of acupuncture consisting of a minimum of 2,850 hours of theoretical and clinical training, which is approved by the Board*. Documented educational training and clinical experience that meets the standards established pursuant to Business and Professions Code sections 4939 and 4941. (For applicants who have completed their education and training outside the United States or Canada.)

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 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 Acupuncture Licensing Examination.

California Acupuncture Board administers the California Acupuncture Licensing Examination (CALE) 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.

Applications for examination must be received in the Sacramento office at least 120 days prior to the date of the examination for which the application is made. The application requires personal and demographic information, including relevant transcripts/diplomas, be submitted to the Board's office. Diplomas and transcripts must be original documents. All foreign language documents must be accompanied by an English translation certified by a translator who can attest to the accuracy. All original documents will be returned upon submitting a "Request for Return of Original Documents" and payment of the required fee.

For more information, visit:
The California Acupuncture Board
1747 N. Market Blvd, Suite 180
Sacramento, CA 95834

Phone: (916) 515-5200    Fax: (916) 928-2204

NCCAOM Examination

NCCAOM Certification continues to increase in value as more states implement licensing regulation in acupuncture, Chinese Herbology, and Asian Bodywork Therapy. More insurance companies accept NCCAOM Certification as a basis for reimbursement for treatment. As national certification standards are adopted throughout the country, mobility to practice where one chooses also increases.

NCCAOM Examinations are administered three times each year at 30 sites across the country. Each administration consists of TWO DAYS of testing. This allows candidates to take examinations for more than one NCCAOM program over the same administration period. The Acupuncture Examinations will be administered on the first day of testing. The Chinese Herbology Examination will be administered on the second day of testing.

The application deadline is the date by which all application materials, including supporting documents and fees must be postmarked. The registration deadline is the date by which the Exam Registration Form (ERF) must be received to request the exam date and location of your choice. You will receive an ERF from NCCAOM after you are approved to test.

For more information, visit: