North Dakota Acupuncture Board418 E Broadway Avenue, Suite 12
Bismarck, ND 58501
North Dakota does not regulate the practice of acupuncture. Acupuncture is within the jurisdiction of the Board of Medical Examiners, and some attorneys recommend that only licensed physicians and chiropractors engage in the practice in that state. However, no acupuncturists have ever been disciplined for practicing without a medical or chiropractic license. Since acupuncture licensing in North Dakota is nonexistent, consumers have been advised to verify that practitioners are, at the very least, nationally certified.
National Acupuncture Certification
The agency most widely recognized as the authority for acupuncture certification in the United States is the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). Practitioners who are certified as NCCAOM diplomates may take advantage of several benefits, and most states require national certification before applicants may receive state acupuncture licenses.
Benefits of NCCAOM certification include national recognition of credentials, a free custom website, a subscription to the commission’s newsletter, a listing in the searchable directory and the right to serve on the board or on NCCAOM task forces.
Eligibility for NCCAOM Certification
Those who wish to receive NCCAOM certification must meet one of four eligibility requirements:
- The most common route taken to receive certification is to be a graduate or pre-graduate of a formal acupuncture program recognized by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM). Pre-graduates must have completed a minimum of 1,490 hours of education and training.
- Individuals who have completed a formal acupuncture education program outside the United States are eligible for certification if the program is approved by the foreign government’s Department of Education or Department of Health. The program is also acceptable if it has been approved by a foreign accreditation agency that is the equivalent of the ACAOM.
- Individuals who have successfully completed an approved apprenticeship program are eligible for certification.
- A point system has been developed that allows students to combine formal education and apprenticeship to determine certification eligibility.
Once eligibility has been determined, applicants must successfully complete examinations in the following three areas: foundations of Oriental medicine, acupuncture with point location and biomedicine. In addition, applicants must pass a course in clean needle technique.
The Future of Acupuncture in North Dakota
Acupuncture licensing in North Dakota was officially discussed by the Budget Committee on Health Care in June 2006. At that time, it was determined that regulation was unnecessary because only three known practitioners existed in the state, and the creation of a board overseeing the practice was not financially feasible with such a limited number of practitioners. However, the state legislature may revisit regulation options at any time.