Licensing & Regulations

Please support our initiative to update Acupuncture laws and regulations in DC:


To apply for a license in the District of Columbia, go to:

If for any reason the above link does not work, you can also access a license application through this:

Clarifying Continuing Education Requirements of D.C. Acupuncturists
The D.C. Board of Medicine opened license renewals for 2015-2016 as of Cotber 1, 2014.

You will see three new questions on the form:  #15, #16, and # 17. These questions are survey questions. They do not reflect any changes in regulations:

15. I have maintained valid certification and/or current Continuing Education credits for my profession.

16. I have current NCCAOM diplomate status.

17. I am a diplomate of Oriental Medicine (Chinese herbololgy).


We want to clarify the meaning of #15, which states: "I have maintained valid certification and/or current Continuing Education credits for my profession." 


By statute all health professionals in D.C. are required to complete CEUs (continuing education credits or units). That said, the number of CEUs required for acupuncturists has never been delineated.  In the absence of a specific number requested for our profession, we have been told recently that the Medical Board's position is that acupuncturists have on hand what is required for physicians, as the same board oversees both professions: this is 50 CEUS per two-year period. 


We suggest you try to accumulate at least 30 CEUs going back over the past 2 years. Why only 30?  Because this is the norm for our profession per NCCAOM certification. The Board, should you be audited, is likely to be reasonable in this regard.  In the unlikely event that you are ever audited for CEUs and have difficulty with the Board please let us know.   Also, be sure to retain all your certificates in the event of audit. 

Please note the following:  The D.C. acupuncture license application asks for verification of  physician collaboration.  The requirement  for physician collaboration was rescinded by law in 2004.  However, the Department of Health has not revised the application form or instruction booklet to reflect this statutory change.

We suggest that when you apply you attach a note explaining that by law you are not required to provide physician collaboration.  Attach a copy of  pages one and 10 of the Health Occupations Revision Act of 2009.  The pertinent language is in the last line of paragraph (1) under the definition of acupuncture on page 10.  We have put this line in boldface, below.

The definition reads as follows:

§ 3-1201.02. Definitions of health occupations
 For the purposes of this chapter, the term:
 (1) "Practice of acupuncture" means the insertion of needles, with or without
accompanying electrical or thermal stimulation, at a certain point or points on or near the surface of the human body to relieve pain, normalize physiological functions, and treat ailments or conditions of the body. A licensed acupuncturist does not need to enter into a collaboration agreement with a licensed physician or osteopath to practice acupuncture."

The link to the Health Occupations Revision Act of 2009 is:

Please let us know how the licensing process goes for you.


License renewals can be done by going to:

or through this link:

Some history on DC Regulations for Acupuncturists

Effective July 2004, legislation of acupuncture in the District of Columbia was modified via a bill that was introduced in 2003 to establish legislation for the practice of naturopathic medicine in DC. This was the vehicle through which the earlier requirement for physician collaboration was eliminated.

Original acupuncture regulations can be viewed here.

The update to the legislation can be viewed by doing the following:

Go to:
Select LIMS
Select View Status of Bill or Resolution
Enter B15-0057 and it will display: 
ACT OF 2003"
Legislation #:     B15-0057
Act/Res #:          A15-0419
Law #:                L15-172

Expiration Date: None
Enactment/Action Date: 
Wednesday, May 05, 2004
Effective Date: Thursday, July 08, 2004

Introduction: the original bill as introduced to the DC Council
Committee Report: Lists notes of the hearing and all who testified
Engrossment: A modification of the bill
Enrollment: The new legislation

It was the amendment of this bill that eliminated the physician collaboration requirement under the previous legislation. The text of this Act specifically states, "A licensed acupuncturist does not need to enter into a collaboration agreement with a licensed physician or osteopath to practice acupuncture."

 This same act also protected and upheld the high standards that we have come to expect in the traditional Chinese medical profession. In the "Practice of Naturopathic Medicine Licensing Amendment Act of 2004", the DC Acupuncture Society was able to successfully amend the Scope of Practice in the act to read "The term "practice of naturopathic medicine" does not include the practices of physical therapy, physical rehabilitation, acupuncture, or chiropractic.".

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