The California Acupuncture Board publishes its acupuncture exam results. This documents the total number of students taking the exam and pass rates for each acupuncture school. To become a licensed acupuncturist in California, passing the state board exam is prerequisite.
Nationally, most other states require passing the NCCAOM (National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine) exams. California licensed acupuncturists are not required to hold NCCAOM certification. However, many acupuncturists sit for these exams to have the freedom to practice in other states.
Largest Number of Students
The acupuncture university with the most students sitting for the California Acupuncture Board exam in 2011 is South Baylo University. A total of 52 students sat for the boards for the very first time and 101 students, including re-examinees, took the exams. This is by far the largest number of students from any college or university qualifying to sit for the California Acupuncture Board exam. The same was true in 2010 when South Baylo University sent 84 first-time takers and 120 total takers to sit for the acupuncture exam. South Baylo University has two campuses, one in Anaheim and one in Los Angeles, California.
In the number two slot for the most students sitting for the acupuncture exam, the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine sent 24 first-time takers and a total of 32 total takers, including re-examinees, to sit for the acupuncture board. The Pacific College of Oriental Medicine has campuses in San Diego, New York and Chicago. Five Branches University sent 23 first-time takers to the exam and a total of 24 including an additional re-examinee. Five Branches has campuses in San Jose and Santa Cruz, California. The University of East West Medicine sent 16 first-time takers and 26 including re-examinees. They have a campus in Sunnyvale, California. Emperor’s College of Traditional Oriental Medicine sent 16 first-time takers and 18 including re-takers. Emperor’s College is located in Santa Monica, California. Dong-guk University, located in Los Angeles, sent 17 first-time takers and 32 including re-examinees. The Acupuncture & Integrative Medical College, Berkeley sent 18 first-time takers and 22 including re-examinees.
The American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM), located in San Francisco, sent 13 first-time takers and 15 takers including re-examinees to sit for the California Acupuncture Board exam. Notably, every ACTCM first-time taker passed the exam. As a percentage, that feat was only matched by Nine Star University of Health Sciences and Santa Barbara College of Oriental Medicine. However, these schools each sent only one first-time taker to sit for the boards. In 2010, ACTCM had an 88% pass rate for first-time takers. The only school beating this number was Five Branches University with a passage rate of 89%. The Southern CA University of Health Sciences sent 14 first-time takers to the boards and 23 including re-examinees. The Southern CA University School of OM & Acupuncture sent 7 first-time takers and 19 including re-examinees. The Academy of Chinese Culture & Health Sciences, Oakland sent 7 first-time takers and 16 total including re-examinees.
Exam Pass Rates 2011
ACTCM had a 100% exam pass rate in 2011 amoung first-time takers. The University of East West Medicine had a 94% pass rate. In 2010, ACTCM had an 88% pass rate and the University of East West Medicine had an 86% pass rate. Of the larger schools also showing very strong pass rate numbers were Five Branches University (78%), Emperor’s College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (75%) and South Baylo University (67%). These schools continue to show consistent pass rates year over year.
Differences in acupuncture exam pass rates are not only a reflection of educational quality but also reflect admissions policies and language issues amoung a diverse student body. Smaller schools with strong pass rates include YoSan University of TCM, Southwest Acupuncture College, Samra University, Life University, Bastyr University, and Acupuncture & Integrative Medical College, Berkeley.