Acupuncture Continuing Education

Acupuncture Education Changes In 2011

Acupuncture CEUs toughen in the USA. Many changes to acupuncture CEU requirements have caused a great deal of confusion. Acupuncturists seeking to renew their licenses may learn that they have not completed new requirements for acupuncture CEUs. The largest concern is over new NCCAOM (National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine) requirements.

NCCAOM Acupuncture PDAs

NCCAOM acupuncture diplomates have learned of recent requirements for ‘safety and ethics’ courses but may not realize that even newer requirements have emerged. The NCCAOM now requires CPR certification in addition to four hours of ‘safety and ethics’ acupuncture CEUs. Last year, CPR certification was not a requirement and the recent confusion has been caused by last year’s acceptance of CPR certification towards the ‘safety and ethics’ acupuncture CEU requirement. The NCCAOM has separated these requirements and CPR no longer counts towards the ‘safety and ethics’ requirement. CPR has become an additional standalone requirement. Another source of confusion is that NCCAOM acupuncture diplomates are not sure whether or not they need PDAs or CEUs to fulfill their acupuncture license renewal requirements. This is purely semantic and one acupuncture PDA (professional development activity point) is equal to one acupuncture CEU (continuing education unit).

Massachusetts Acupuncture CEUs

On the state level, some areas of confusion have emerged over California, Massachusetts, and Florida acupuncture CEUs. In Massachusetts, there is a 10 hour herbal medicine CEU requirement for licensed acupuncturists. Acupuncturists in Massachusetts express confusion as to which courses count towards this requirement. Adam White, HealthCMI President, spoke with the Massachusetts Committee on Acupuncture concerning this issue. White states, “The confusion exists because no category exists for herbal CEU pre-certification in the NCCAOM system.” White further noted that the Massachusetts Committee on Acupuncture has clarified that it is the individual acupuncturist’s responsibility to determine how many hours of a course’s CEUs count towards the herbal requirement. For example, if a course is taken (online or in-person) and is worth 15 acupuncture CEUs, the individual acupuncturist documents the amount of hours in that course material relevant to herbal medicine. If 10 hours of the course materials are determined to count toward the herbal requirement, then the acupuncturist has met the Massachusetts Acupuncture Committee requirements for re-licensure. Essentially, this is a self-monitored acupuncture continuing education requirement.

California Acupuncture CEUs

California acupuncturists have expressed concern over the two-year 50 hour acupuncture CEU requirement. Unlike the NCCAOM which allows all CEUs to be taken online, the California Acupuncture Board allows only 25 acupuncture CEUs to be taken online. Also, the creation of ‘category 1’ and ‘category 2’ course delineations has caused some concern. All ‘category 1’ acupuncture CEUs are unlimited towards fulfilling acupuncture requirements. These are Chinese medicine core curriculum courses and all medicine related courses. However, only 5 hours of ‘category 2’ courses count towards acupuncturist license renewal. These are courses that, according to the California Acupuncture Board, are “unrelated to clinical matters or the actual provision of health care to patients.”  The California Acupuncture Board further clarifies that Qi Gong, Tai Ji Quan, business classes, insurance billing classes, and practice management classes are all ‘category 2’ courses.

Florida Acupuncture CEs

Florida acupuncturists require several categories of CEUs (CEs) towards acupuncture license renewal. Of the 30 hours total required by the Florida Board of Acupuncture, two hours must be related to ‘medical errors’, two hours towards ‘laws & rules’, and five hours towards ‘biomedical sciences’. For the first renewal period after initial licensure, requirements are for two hours of ‘medical errors’ acupuncture CEUs and 3 hours of ‘HIV/AIDS’ acupuncture CEUs. Lastly, the State of Illinois has officially barred any course with any mention of herbal medicine from counting towards acupuncture CEUs.