Examination Content

The content of the California Acupuncture Licensing Examination is based on the results of a comprehensive occupational analysis, which is revised every four or
five years, most recently in  2015. Licensed acupuncturists in California were surveyed in order to identify the tasks, knowledge, skills and abilities that are important
components of the acupuncture professions.

The following percentages indicate the portion of the test devoted to each major topic.  For further definition of the content areas, please refer to
Jan 2015 Occupational Analysis -  page iii, and the Task to Knowledge area pgs. 29 to 72.  Jan 2015 Occupational Analysis: https://www.acupuncture.ca.gov/about_us/materials/2015_occanalysis.pdf

Content Area: Patient Assessment

The practitioner obtains patient's history and performs a physical examination to evaluate presenting complaint and
interrelationship among symptoms. The practitioner assesses patient's use of herbs, supplements, and Western medications to determine impact on patient's condition. The practitioner uses patient's diagnostic test results to augment Oriental Medicine assessment methods.

  1. (A) Obtaining Patient History  (16.5%)
  2. (B) Performing a Physical Examination (12%)
  3. (C) Evaluate for Herbs, Supplements, and Western Pharmacology (1%)
  4. (D) Implementing Diagnostic Testing (1.5%)
Content Area: Developing a Diagnostic Impression

The practitioner evaluates clinical manifestations to determine the relative strength and progression of disease. The
practitioner demonstrates knowledge of how pathology in Western medicine relates to disease in traditional Oriental Medicine. The practitioner evaluates patterns of disharmony according to theories of Oriental Medicine to establish a diagnosis and treatment plan.

Content Area: Providing Acupuncture Treatment

The practitioner implements knowledge of the actions, indications, and categories of points to create a point protocol which balances and treats disharmonies. The practitioner uses anatomical landmarks and proportional measurements to locate needle points on the body. The practitioner identifies clinical indications and contraindications for the use of acupuncture microsystems and adjunct modalities. The practitioner evaluates patient response at follow-up visit and modifies the treatment plan.

  1. (A) Point Selection Principles and Categories (17.5%)
  2. (B) Point Location and Needling Techniques (5.5%)
  3. (C) Implement Adjunct Modalities (7%)
  4. (D) Patient Education (5%)
Content Area: Herbal Therapy

The practitioner selects herbal formulas based on diagnostic criteria, and then modifies herbs and dosages according to the patient's condition. The practitioner identifies situations and conditions where herbs and herbal formulas would be contraindicated.

Content Area: Regulations for Public Health and Safety
13 %

The practitioner adheres to professional, ethical, and legal requirements regarding business practices, informed consent, and collaboration with other health care providers. The practitioner understands and complies with laws and regulations governing infection control measures. The practitioner adheres to legal requirements for reporting known or suspected abuse.