School Approval Process

(School Application)

The Acupuncture Board establishes standards for approval and "approves," rather than accredits, institutions and colleges offering education and training programs in the practice of acupuncture and oriental medicine. Training programs are to be located in a state university or college, and have received approval, as a degree-granting institution, by the Bureau of Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education (BPPVE) under Article 4 (commencing with section 94760) of Chapter 7 Part 59 of the Education Code in the field of traditional oriental medicine.

In the case of institutions located outside of California, approval must be obtained by the appropriate governmental educational authority using standards equivalent to those of Article 4 (commencing with section 94760) of Chapter 7 of Part 59 of the Education Code.

Students who complete a Board-approved training program are eligible to take the California Acupuncture Licensing Examination. Graduates from nonapproved programs are not eligible, and must either 1) transfer eligible credits into an approved program or 2) apply for a Board-approved tutorial program and request that prior training and experience be considered.

Process for School Approval

Schools interested in applying for approval should complete the application provided, as a link, above. Upon receipt of a completed school application and processing fee of $1,500.00, the Board will complete a thorough review of the application and perform a site visit to the school. Schools are required to reimburse the Board for direct costs incurred in conducting the initial (and, if necessary, subsequent) review and evaluation.

Educational institutions or programs seeking approval are to provide the Board with documents and other evidence necessary to determine the actual nature and extent of training offered, and may include catalogues, course descriptions, and curricula plans. Once approved, each acupuncture school is mandated to report, to the Board, any changes to the facility and/or clinic(s) and curriculum requirements within 30 days. The Board may deny, place on probation, suspend or revoke the approval granted to any acupuncture training program for failure to comply with regulations or the Acupuncture Licensure Act.

The director of the clinical portion of the training program must be a licensed acupuncturist or other licensed practitioner authorized to practice acupuncture. All instructors must be competent to teach their designated courses by virtue of their education, training and experience (California Code of Regulation, section 1399.436). Student records at approved schools must be maintained least in English.

The time required to process a new school through the approval process depends on several factors: 1) the completeness/clarity of the school's application and supporting documentation, 2) the school's compliance with the Board's standards, 3) the scheduling of the on-site visit, and 4) the scheduling of Board meetings. The processing time ranges from six to twelve months.

Within sixty (60) days after the close of the school's fiscal year, approved acupuncture schools are required to submit to the Board an annual report, including a current course catalog with a letter outlining the following:

  • any courses added/deleted or significantly changed from the previous year's curriculum,
  • any changes in faculty, administration or governing body or any major changes in the school facility and
  • a statement regarding the school's financial condition, which enables the Board to evaluate whether the school has sufficient resources to ensure the capability of the program for enrolled students.

Expenses are reimbursed to the Board for inspection or re-inspections, for purposes of approval or continued approval. The Board invoices the institutions for the actual costs of these on-site inspections.