Continuing Education Credits (CEU) and Professional Development Activities (PDA) are an integral part of the yearly calendar of the Chinese Medicine practitioner, or Acupuncture Professional. Let’s dive into the subject and learn more about the current guidelines.
In most states re-certification is essential if you wish to continue practicing, or keep your license active. Each state does have its own specific requirements (states such as Texas), so make sure you are informed of your specific state guidelines, licensure and re-accreditation guidelines, as state specific CEU requirements may vary in amount or renewal period. Read on to find out what is required.
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) is a national accreditation that governs most states. There are only seven states that do not require NCCAOM certification to practice Acupuncture.
- Alabama: Does not require acupuncture licensure.
- CaliforniaL Has its own licensing exam specific to California.
- Maryland : Licensing is required to practice in this state, but not through NCCAOM.
- North Dakota: Licensing is required to practice in this state, but not through NCCAOM.
- Oklahoma: Does not require acupuncture licensure.
- South Dakota: Does not require acupuncture licensure.
- Florida: Has its own licensing requirements.
In states that follow the NCCAOM guidelines it is required to file for re-certification every 4 years, with a total of 60 CEU/PDA credits. These credits can be taken online or in person from an accredited provider. One credit is equal to 1 hour of learning/ teaching.
There is a minimum of 22 credits required within the category of Acupuncture/Oriental medicine, Biomedicine, Asian Bodywork Therapy, a minimum of 4 credits to obtain a CPR Certificate, 2 credit minimum of Medical Ethics, and 2 in Safety. All courses must be recorded online via the NCCAOM portal.
It is best that they are not left until right before you are due for re-accreditation, as the re-accreditation process takes about 6 weeks. If you are submitting coursework within 6 weeks of the 4 year credentialing cycle there is a late fee and 15 more credits are due as a penalty.
- 4 credits CPR: Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation/Basic Life Support Certificate
- 2 credits Ethics (ET): Courses that focus on ethical decisions and issues within medicine and healthcare professions.
- 2 credits Safety (SA): Courses that focus upon patient, staff and environmental safety issues within Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine as well as healthcare professions overall.
- 22 credits AOM, ABT, BIO coursework: Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (AOM) Clinically relevant Western medicine (BIO) applicable to patient care.
These four sections above are known as “Core Competency” and a minimum of 30 credits must fall into these categories, yet all 60 may be done within these sections. A maximum of 30 credits may fall into the Professional enhancement category below.
PE-CW Courses- Extra courses may fall into this Professional Enhancement and as the website states can “relate to therapies and modalities that enhance the Diplomate’s practice but are not subjects originating in Oriental or Western medicine. PDA points that are left over from the Core Competencies section may also be applied to this category.” This can include self study, apprenticeships, teaching or publications. Check the website for the full list of acceptable activities.
|NCCAOM Re-Accreditation Outline|
|Certification Renewal Every 4 Years|
|Core Competency (30 minimum credits)|
– 4 credits CPR
– 2 credits Ethics
– 2 credits Safety
– 22 credits AOM, ABT, BIO coursework
PE-CW Courses- Extra courses may fall into this Professional Enhancement category, 30 maximum, or all 60 may be done within Core Competency.
Cost Of Continuing Education Credits
CEU/PDA credits can range in cost, but typically are around 10-20 each. Many professional organizations such as the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) will offer a few free credits each year. It is best to sign up for their mailing lists to stay informed.
The NCCAOM certification renewal cost is $290, for an active license re-certification. If you are late in applying for renewal, or if your certification has lapsed the late fee is $50 for 1-12 months lapsed, $100 for 13-24 months lapsed, and an extra $150 for 25-36 months lapsed. If a certification has lapsed over 3 years the initial board exams may need to be retaken and the fees are exponentially more expensive. Application fees are non-refundable.
The website states that, “A Diplomate who does not renew their certification by their expiration date forfeits all benefits and services provided by NCCAOM certification including but not limited to a Diplomate designation. A former Diplomate is anyone who was once Certified by NCCAOM since 1982 and is currently at terminated status. A former Diplomate may apply to return to Active NCCAOM status through the NCCAOM Reinstatement to Active Certification process.”
Where to Find More Information
There are numerous websites, teachers, and organizations that provide courses which fulfill the NCCAOM requirements for CEU/PDA’s. Make sure to check before signing up for courses to see if they have met the accreditation specifics. Website such as Acupuncture Continuing Education, or Health CMI, often offer great deals, and free courses.
You can also work towards gaining specific certifications such as becoming specialized in Sports Medicine or Reproductive medicine while obtaining necessary credits. Check into your local Chinese Medicine School, Alumni, or state professional organization for acceptable courses.
Do not forget about the opportunity to get hours accounted for through the professional development option if you are practicing things such as Tai Qi, writing articles, publications or lecturing.