How do I know if a practitioner is qualified?The practice of acupuncture is licensed in at least 43 states as of 2008. Using Minnesota as an example, the following procedure is similar for most states (with the exception of California, which has its own internal examination and licensing procedure). To become licensed, a candidate must be a graduate of an accredited school of Chinese medicine (or a school which is in the process of accreditation). Most schools of acupuncture and Oriental medicine require their graduates to complete a minimum of 2800 hours of professional training. The candidate must also pass a series of national board examinations administered by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). The NCCAOM will award certifications such as Diplomate of Acupuncture (Dipl.Ac.) and Diplomate of Chinese Herbology (Dipl.CH), depending on which national board exams the candidate passed. In Minnesota, acupuncturists are licensed under the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice, and should have the title of Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.) after their name. In other states, acupuncture may be licensed or certified by a state Department of Regulatory Agencies. In many states, chiropractors are allowed to perform acupuncture services under their scope of practice, but may not be licensed or certified specifically in acupuncture, and often have little or no training in Chinese herbology. It is always a good idea to ask if a practitioner is a licensed acupuncturist, where s/he went to school, what conditions s/he specializes in, etc. when choosing a practitioner.