How to Know if a Practitioner is Qualified

First and foremost, make sure you are going to a licensed professional. A licensed acupuncturist will have the designation “L. Ac.” after his/her name.

In Iowa, acupuncturists are licensed by the Iowa Board of Medicine. In order to apply for a license in Iowa, acupuncturists must provide proof of the following:

  1. Successful completion of a three-year postsecondary training program or acupuncture college program which is accredited by the National Accreditation Commission for Schools and Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM).
  2. Current active status as a diplomate in the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).
  3. Successful completion of a course in Clean Needle Technique approved by the NCCAOM.
All licensed acupuncturists in Iowa are also diplomates of the NCCAOM, resulting in the designation “Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM)” or possibly “Dipl. O.M. (NCCAOM).”* This means they have:

1.Comprehensive training in traditional differential diagnosis and proper treatment methods

2. Completed a three to four year, master’s degree level program that is approved by ACAOM. (ACAOM is the only accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education as the authority for quality education and training in acupuncture and Oriental medicine.)

3. Passed the NCCAOM certification examinations in Foundations of Oriental Medicine, Acupuncture, and Biomedicine.

For more information, visit and locate the “Diplomates” tab in the left navigation bar. You can also ask us for more information by emailing


*There are other categories of diplomates for those who studied Asian bodywork or Chinese herbology, but you are unlikely to see them in Iowa.