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Can DCs get certified in acupuncture?

In the majority of states, DCs can become certified in acupuncture under their chiropractic license. Acupuncture certification allows the DC to perform and bill for acupuncture (CPT codes 97810, 97811, 97813, and 97814). Using this certification is the key to building a chiropractic and acupuncture practice under one chiropractic license.

Integrating acupuncture into a chiropractic practice was the subject of an excellent article in the June 2017 issue of Chiropractic Economics.

The article discussed two ways to integrate acupuncture into a chiropractic practice. One option would be for the doctor of chiropractic (DC) to pursue their own Licensed Acupuncturist (LAc) degree. Option two would be for the DC to hire an LAc. There is a third option, however. In many cases, a DC can add acupuncture to their practice without the services of a licensed acupuncturist.

In the majority of states, DCs can become certified in acupuncture under their chiropractic license. Acupuncture certification allows the DC to perform and bill for acupuncture (CPT codes 97810, 97811, 97813, and 97814). Using this certification is the key to building a chiropractic and acupuncture practice under one chiropractic license. This certification allows the DC to perform the acupuncture personally and add acupuncture to their practice without hiring an LAc or being an L.Ac.

The District of Columbia and 30 states allow DCs to add acupuncture to their practice. The 30 states are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

The minimum number of hours of acupuncture training required varies from state to state, and some states also require the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) Acupuncture Examination. (See table below. Information provided courtesy of Jim Ventresca, DOM, LAc, of AcuPractice Seminars.)

States that allow doctors of chiropractic to practice acupuncture

State

Chiropractors

Minimum Number of Hours of Acupuncture Training Required

Other Requirements
Alabama 100 NBCE Exam
Alaska 300
Arizona 100 NBCE Exam
Arkansas 100
Colorado 100 NBCE Exam
Connecticut

100

Recommended (not specified by state law)

Delaware 100
District of Columbia 100 NBCE Exam
Florida 100 NBCE Exam
Idaho 300
Illinois

100

Recommended (not specified by state law)

Indiana 200
Idaho 200
Illinois 100
Indiana 200
Iowa

100

Must be live, in-person training

Kansas

100

Recommended (not specified by state law)

Maine 200
Minnesota 100 NBCE Exam
Missouri 100 NBCE Exam
Nebraska

100

Recommended (not specified by state law)

New Hampshire

100

Recommended (not specified by state law)

New Mexico

100

Recommended (not specified by state law)

DCs may not use the term “Acupuncture” may only refer to treatments as “meridian therapy”
North Carolina 200
North Dakota 100
Ohio 300
Oklahoma 100 Post-program exam required
South Dakota 100 NBCE Exam
Tennessee 300 NBCE Exam
Texas 100 NBCE Exam
Utah 100 NBCE Exam
Vermont 300
Virginia

200

To include 50 clinical hours

West Virginia 100 NBCE Exam
Wyoming 100 NBCE Exam

Note: This information is believed to be accurate at the time of publication. However, state laws, rules, and regulations can change quickly. This information is not a substitute for legal advice and shall not be relied upon for any citation, application, or use of law. Consult with your licensing agency for a definitive interpretation of the applicable laws, rules and regulations in regard to your licensure, education and scope of practice.DC acupuncture certification programsAcupuncture certification programs for DCs are available through several institutions. Many chiropractic schools include acupuncture as part of their postgraduate curricula. Here a few of the institutions that offer acupuncture certification programs for DCs:

Some states also require acupuncture training courses for chiropractic assistants (CAs). This additional training is required by law and allows CAs to legally assist the doctor of chiropractic with acupuncture treatments as well as chiropractic treatments. Consult your state board for more information on what acupuncture training may be required for CAs in your state.

Conclusion

With additional training, most DCs can provide and bill for acupuncture services under their chiropractic license, without the services of an LAc. Since the laws governing DCs practicing Acupuncture can change and vary from state to state, it is imperative to consult with your chiropractic state board before implementing acupuncture into your practice.Steven Brown, DC, is a certified acupuncturist and has been practicing chiropractic and acupuncture together for 22 years. His private practice is located in Tempe, Arizona. He can be contacted through brownchiro.com.

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