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"Acupuncture" is 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. 

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Eligibility for Licensure

To be eligible for licensure to practice acupuncture in Iowa, state regulation requires that an applicant must show the following:

  1. 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
  2. Current active status as a diplomate in the NCCAOM
  3. 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
  4. Successful completion of a course in Clean Needle Technique approved by the NCCAOM

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.

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 Iowa Administrative Code 653-17.2 (Iowa Code148E).

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.

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License Renewal

After an acupuncture license is issued, the license expires on Oct. 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.

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Disclosure Sheet

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
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Apply or Renew a License

Go to the Online Services webpage to start the application process.

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Acupuncture Licensure Fees

Acupuncture License ($300/application; $45/background check)


Acupuncture Renewal (2 Year)


Inactive Fee (to place license in inactive status)


Late Fee during grace period (up to January 1st)


Reactivation of an acupuncture licensure application


Reinstatement of an inactive acupuncture license ($400/application; $45/background check)


Certified Acupuncture License Verification to another state licensing board


Non-Certified Acupuncture license verification


Duplicate Wall Certificate or Renewal Card


Miscellaneous Fees

Copy of Application - $20

Copy of Administrative Rules - No charge

Returned Checks - $25

Board Ordered Monitoring (quarterly) - Up to $300

Online Transaction Surcharge - $7

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