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Learn to become an acupuncturist in Florida

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Acupuncture is an ancient medical practice that can trace its roots back thousands of years. Acupuncturists place needles in the skin along the body’s natural meridians or energy points to promote healing and treat a range of health problems. Today, acupuncture is still practiced in health clinics and wellness centers across the country.

In order to become an acupuncturist, you must obtain a license through your state’s appropriate licensing body. In the state of Florida, that is the Florida Board of Acupuncture. Although each state sets their own requirements, the requirements to become an acupuncturist in Florida are pretty similar to most other jurisdictions. If you’re thinking about becoming an acupuncturist in Florida, read on to find out what you need to do before you can start your career.

In This Article

Requirements for becoming an acupuncturist in Florida

To practice as an acupuncturist in Florida, you must apply for a license through the Florida Board of Acupuncture. Their licensure requirements are as follows:

  • Must be at least 21 years of age
  • Submit an application and pay the appropriate fee
  • Complete an approved training program
  • Pass an examination offered by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) or a “state examination approved by the board as substantially equivalent”
  • Submit proof of English language proficiency only if an applicant passed the national written exam in a language other than English
  • Submit proof of professional liability insurance coverage

Education and training requirements

In order to satisfy the education requirement, Florida acupuncturists must complete a four-year master’s level acupuncture program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine (ACAHM), or a candidate for ACAHM accreditation, which includes at least 2,700 hours of supervised instruction. A foreign equivalent program may also be accepted.

The program must include coursework on:

  • Western anatomy
  • Western physiology
  • Western pathology
  • Western biomedical terminology
  • First aid
  • CPR

Candidates must also complete the following, which may or may not already be incorporated into their education program:

15 hours of supervised instruction in universal precautions for needle techniques

20 hours of Florida state laws and rules

60 hours of injection therapy

Exam and licensing requirements

The Board of Acupuncture uses NCCAOM’s acupuncture certification examination as their licensing examination. Candidates must contact NCCAOM directly in order to schedule and take the exam. 

NCCAOM’s Acupuncture with Point Location exam consist of four domains, which include the following subcategories:

  1. Safety and Professional Practice: Professional practice; acupuncture-related adverse events; infection control; case management.
  2. Treatment Plan: Strategies and treatment methods; acupuncture treatment strategies according to diagnosis; cautions and contraindications; treatment plan modifications.
  3. Treatment Techniques: Acupuncture; moxibustion; adjunctive therapies; Asian bodywork therapy.
  4. Acupuncture Point Location: Acupuncture point location methods.

The exam is administered at authorized testing centers on a computer. You have 2.5 hours to complete the exam’s 100 questions.

Once you complete your education, pass the exam and the complete the remainder of the licensure requirements, you should be ready to apply and receive your acupuncture license

Continuing education requirements

Florida acupuncturists must renew their license every two years to keep it active. In order for their license to be renewed, they must pay a fee and report their required continuing education (CE) hours.

Acupuncturists must complete a total of 30 hours of CE each renewal period. Those 30 hours must include:

  • Two hours of Florida laws and rules
  • Five hours of biomedical sciences
  • Two hours of medical error

Legal considerations for acupuncturists in Florida

Transferability: Out-of-state acupuncturists

Out-of-state acupuncturists can apply for a Florida license via endorsement two ways:

  • Through another state license: Submit proof of being actively licensed in another state which has equivalent or more stringent examination requirements. That state’s acupuncture board must contact the Florida Board of Acupuncture to attest to and indicate the status of the applicant’s current license.
  • Through national certification: Submit proof of being actively certified in Oriental Medicine through NCCAOM.

Applicants educated outside of the United States may need to have their education reviewed by the Board to make sure it is deemed equivalent to programs accredited by the ACAHM.

Professional conduct and ethical guidelines

Acupuncturists, like other health professionals, must follow strict professional conduct and ethical guidelines or face the possibility of disciplinary action and/or risk their license getting denied or revoked. These rules are outlined in Chapter 456 (Health Professions and Occupations) and Chapter 457 (Acupuncture) of the Florida Statutes.

Scope of practice

Chapter 457 of the Florida Statutes defines acupuncture and the practice thereof as “a form of primary health care, based on traditional Chinese medical concepts and modern oriental medical techniques, that employs acupuncture diagnosis and treatment, as well as adjunctive therapies and diagnostic techniques, for the promotion, maintenance and restoration of health and the prevention of disease.

Acupuncture shall include, but not be limited to, the insertion of acupuncture needles and the application of moxibustion to specific areas of the human body and the use of electroacupuncture, Qi Gong, oriental massage, herbal therapy, dietary guidelines and other adjunctive therapies, as defined by board rule.”

Insurance and liability

Applicants for a Florida acupuncture license must submit proof of professional liability insurance coverage as part of their application. This can be obtained through numerous different insurance providers, including but not limited to the American Acupuncture Council.

Working as an acupuncturist in Florida

How much do acupuncturists make in Florida?

Unfortunately, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lacks salary data for acupuncturists for many states and metropolitan areas. Their only data from the state of Florida includes the metro areas of Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater and Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach. These areas have median annual wages of $82,410 and $67,600, respectively, according to their data.

The BLS reports that acupuncturists in Georgia, the closest state to Florida geographically, have a median annual wage of $97,930.

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Median Hourly Wage$35

Job growth5.3%

Total Employment7,800

State Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Alaska $75,950 $29,740 $88,770
Arizona $76,770 $36,400 $95,390
California $75,780 $40,930 $156,000
Colorado $52,600 $31,080 $79,030
Georgia $97,930 $55,260 $110,890
Hawaii $83,390 $50,940 $183,620
Idaho $38,030 $17,390 $87,990
Indiana N/A N/A N/A
Maine $61,200 $40,010 $81,350
Maryland $59,790 $50,990 $110,710
Massachusetts N/A N/A N/A
Michigan $51,670 $21,710 N/A
Minnesota N/A N/A N/A
New Jersey $50,400 $27,040 $128,410
New York $63,640 $40,470 $100,270
North Carolina N/A N/A N/A
Oregon $69,330 $36,460 $108,350
Pennsylvania N/A N/A N/A
Rhode Island $98,260 $63,070 $137,200
South Carolina $77,310 $40,310 $83,310
Tennessee $84,880 $63,800 N/A
Texas $73,410 $26,630 $142,510
Washington $63,660 $50,650 $82,960
Wisconsin $66,470 $38,380 $173,460

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2022 median salary; projected job growth through 2032. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.

Finding employment opportunities

According to the BLS, the employment of acupuncturists nationwide is expected to grow 5.3% through 2032, which is a little faster than average across all occupations.

The public is turning to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments more and more, however, meaning growth trends for acupuncturists could be even greater in the years to come. One report estimates, for example, that the global CAM market will more than triple between 2021 (valued at $100 billion) and 2027, when it is expected to reach over $315 billion. 

Setting up a private practice

An acupuncturist that wants to start their own private practice can only do so once they have obtained a valid business license. These are typically issued by your local county or municipality (or both in some cases). Since this process can differ depending on where you live and want to practice, be sure to research your local business licensing laws to find out exactly what you need to start an acupuncture practice.

Staying up to date on industry developments and trends

One of the primary ways that healthcare professionals stay current on trends and developments within their industry is through the continuing education courses they must take.

Acupuncturists are no different—not only is CE a way to keep your knowledge and skills sharp, but it’s a requirement to maintain your license to practice. Joining a professional membership organization (or several) is a great way to find CE opportunities and receive numerous other perks that organizations may offer, including discounts, networking events, liability insurance coverage and more.

Consider some of the following professional organizations that may be relevant to your practice as an acupuncturist in Florida:

Getting started

All acupuncturists must receive proper education and training before they can get licensed to practice, including in Florida. This means getting a master’s level degree in acupuncture before you can take the national certifying exam through NCCAOM, which the Florida Board of Acupuncture uses as their state licensing exam. To get started, begin by researching education programs accredited by the ACAHM to prepare for a rewarding career in acupuncture in the Sunshine State.

kendall upton

Published: November 1, 2023

Written and reported by:

Kendall Upton
Staff Writer