"Acupuncture" is defined as a form of health care developed from traditional and modern oriental medical concepts that employ oriental medical diagnosis and treatment and adjunctive therapies and diagnostic techniques for the promotion, maintenance, and restoration of health and the prevention of disease.
Eligibility for Licensure
To be eligible for licensure to practice acupuncture in Iowa, state regulation requires that an applicant must show the following:
- Successful completion of a three-year postsecondary training program or acupuncture college program which is accredited by, in candidacy for accreditation by, or which meets the standards of the National Accreditation Commission for Schools and Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
- Current active status as a diplomate in the NCCAOM
- Sufficient knowledge of the English language
- An applicant who passed the NCCAOM written and practical examination components in English may be presumed to have sufficient proficiency in English
- An applicant who passed NCCAOM written or practical examination components in a language other than English shall pass the Test of Spoken English (TSE) or the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), examinations administered by the Educational Testing Service. A passing score on TSE is a minimum of 50. A passing score on TOEFL is a minimum overall score of 550 on the paper-based TOEFL that was administered on a Friday or Saturday (formerly special or international administration) or a minimum overall score of 213 on the computer-administered TOEFL, or a minimum overall score of 79 on the internet-based examination
- Successful completion of a course in Clean Needle Technique approved by the NCCAOM
Iowa Licensees Not Required to Obtain Acupuncture Licensure
Physicians (M.D., D.O.), Chiropractors, Dentists, and Podiatrists may practice acupuncture under their Iowa professional license according to IAC 653-17.2(148E).
A student practicing acupuncture under the direct supervision of a licensed acupuncturist as part of a course of study approved by the board as one that leads to eligibility for licensure is not required to obtain a license.
To apply for licensure in Iowa, an applicant must provide the following:
- A non-refundable application fee, which includes criminal history background check fee
- A completed application form provided by the board including required credentials and documents
- An Authorization for Release of Personal Information form, signed and dated and returned to the board
- Verification of Licensure/Registration form(s) from the appropriate regulatory authority in every jurisdiction that an applicant has ever practiced acupuncture, sent directly from the regulatory authority to the board
- The NCCAOM score report verification form submitted directly to the board by the NCCAOM
- An official statement from the NCCAOM that the applicant holds current active status as a diplomate in NCCAOM
- An official statement showing successful completion of a course in clean needle technique approved by the NCCAOM
Read about the fee for a permanent license application.
How to Apply
Read about the acupuncture license application process.
An acupuncturist who is licensed as such by the board may use the words "licensed acupuncturist" or "L.Ac." to denote professional standing after the licensee's name.
Pursuant to Iowa Code section 148E.6, applicants shall provide a disclosure sheet to each patient upon initial contact. The disclosure sheet must be signed and dated by the patient, and must be retained for at least five years after termination of treatment. The disclosure sheet shall include the following:
- Name, business address, and business phone number.
- A fee schedule.
- Listing of your education, experience, degrees, certifications, or other credentials related to acupuncture awarded by professional acupuncture organizations and the length of time required to obtain degrees or credentials and experience.
- Statement indicating any license, certificate, or registration in a health care occupation that was revoked by any local, state, or national health care agency.
- Statement that you are complying with statutes and rules adopted by this Board, including a statement that only pre-sterilized, disposable needles are used.
- Statement that the Iowa Board of Medicine regulates the practice of acupuncture.
- Statement indicating that a license to practice acupuncture does not authorize a person to practice medicine and surgery in Iowa, and that the services of an acupuncturist must not be regarded as diagnosis and treatment by a person licensed to practice medicine and must not be regarded as medical opinion or advice.
- Provide a space for the patient’s signature and date
The board is authorized to discipline licensed acupuncturists who violate the law. You may report an acupuncturist to the board for a possible violation of the law by calling (515) 242-3252 or by submitting an online form. Enter information about the acupuncturist where the form states “physician.”
After an acupuncture license is issued, the license expires on October 31 of even years. Renewal applications must include the correct renewal fee, along with documented evidence that the licensee holds current active status as a diplomate in acupuncture or oriental medicine from the NCCAOM.