Virginia Laws & Regulations

Virginia Laws Pertaining to the Practice of Acupuncture
Chapter 29, Title 54.1

Defining “acupuncturist”
"Acupuncturist" means an individual approved by the Board to practice acupuncture. This is limited to "licensed acupuncturist" which means an individual other than a doctor of medicine, osteopathy, chiropractic or podiatry who has successfully completed the requirements for licensure established by the Board (approved titles are limited to: Licensed Acupuncturist, Lic.Ac., and L.Ac.).

Defining “auricular acupuncture”
"Auricular acupuncture" means the subcutaneous insertion of sterile, disposable acupuncture needles in predetermined, bilateral locations in the outer ear when used exclusively and specifically in the context of a chemical dependency treatment program.

Defining the “practice of acupuncture”
"Practice of acupuncture" means the stimulation of certain points on or near the surface of the body by the insertion of needles to prevent or modify the perception of pain or to normalize physiological functions, including pain control, for the treatment of certain ailments or conditions of the body and includes the techniques of electroacupuncture, cupping and moxibustion. The practice of acupuncture does not include the use of physical therapy, chiropractic, or osteopathic manipulative techniques; the use or prescribing of any drugs, medications, serums or vaccines; or the procedure of auricular acupuncture as exempted in ยง 54.1-2901 when used in the context of a chemical dependency treatment program for patients eligible for federal, state or local public funds by an employee of the program who is trained and approved by the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association or an equivalent certifying body

Exceptions and exemptions

Any provider of a chemical dependency treatment program who is certified as an "acupuncture detoxification specialist" by the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association or an equivalent certifying body, from administering auricular acupuncture treatment under the appropriate supervision of a National Acupuncture Detoxification Association certified licensed physician or licensed acupuncturist

Virginia Regulations Pertaining to the Licensure of Acupuncturists
18VAC85-110-10 et. seq. 

Education Requirements

18VAC85-110-50. Educational requirements: graduates of approved institutions or programs in the United States.

A. Requirements for acupuncture education obtained prior to July 1, 1990, shall be as provided in this subsection.

1. An applicant applying for licensure to practice as an acupuncturist on the basis of successful completion of education in a school or college of acupuncture accredited by the ACAOM or other accrediting agencies approved by the Board of Medicine, which confers a degree or certificate in acupuncture in the United States, shall submit evidence of successful completion of an acupuncture course of study in an accredited school or college for acupuncture, providing evidence of not less than 1,000 hours of schooling in not less than a continuous 18-month period.

2. The studies shall include not less than 700 didactic hours and not less than 250 clinical hours. Additional hours may be in either didactic or clinical hours based upon the school or college curriculum.

B. Requirements for acupuncture education obtained after July 1, 1990, shall be as provided in this subsection.

An applicant applying for licensure to practice as a licensed acupuncturist on the basis of successful completion of education in a school or college for acupuncture accredited by ACAOM or any other accrediting agency approved by the Board of Medicine, that confers a degree or certificate in acupuncture in the United States, shall submit evidence of having a minimum of three academic years in length equivalent to 90 semester credit hours or 135 quarter credit hours.

One academic year means full-time study completed in four quarters, two semesters, or three trimesters. A full-time continuous study program shall be a concentrated educational process in acupuncture which requires individual study with assigned materials in a classroom or clinical setting.

C. Requirements for acupuncture education obtained after July 1, 1999, shall be as provided in this subsection. An applicant applying for licensure to practice as a licensed acupuncturist on the basis of successful completion of education in a school or college for acupuncture accredited by ACAOM or any other accrediting agency approved by the Board of Medicine, which confers a degree or certificate in acupuncture in the United States, shall submit evidence of having a minimum of 1,725 hours of entry-level acupuncture education to include at least 1,000 didactic hours and 500 clinical hours. Clinical hours may include observation, as well as internship or treatment hours; the remaining 225 hours may be earned as either didactic or clinical. Correspondence programs or courses in acupuncture are excluded and may not be used to meet the requirements for acupuncture education.

D. Requirements for acupuncture education obtained after February 1, 2011, shall be as provided in this subsection. An applicant applying for licensure to practice as a licensed acupuncturist on the basis of successful completion of education in a school or college for acupuncture accredited by ACAOM or any other accrediting agency approved by the Board of Medicine, which confers a degree or certificate in acupuncture in the United States, shall submit evidence of having a minimum of 1,905 hours of entry-level acupuncture education to include at least 1,155 didactic hours and 660 clinical hours. Clinical hours may include observation, as well as internship or treatment hours; the remaining 90 hours may be earned as either didactic or clinical hours. Correspondence programs or courses in acupuncture are excluded and may not be used to meet the requirements for acupuncture education.

E. An applicant from an acupuncture program in a school or college that has achieved candidacy status for accreditation by ACAOM shall be eligible for licensure provided the program meets the applicable requirements of subsection A, B, C, or D of this section, with the exception of full ACAOM accreditation.  

18VAC85-110-60. Requirements of foreign graduates of nonaccredited educational programs in acupuncture.

A. An applicant who has completed an educational course of study in a school or college outside the United States or Canada that is not accredited by ACAOM or any other board-approved accrediting agency shall:

1. Submit a transcript from his educational course of study in acupuncture to a credential evaluation service approved by the board to determine equivalency in education and training to that required in 18VAC85-110-50.

2. Meet the examination requirements as prescribed in 18VAC85-110-80 and 18VAC85-110-90.

B. All documents submitted to the board which are not in English must be translated into English and certified by the embassy of the issuing government or by a translating service.

18VAC85-110-80. Examination requirements for licensure.

The examination requirements for licensure shall consist of:

1. Passing the NCCAOM comprehensive written examination, resulting in current, active certification by the NCCAOM at the time the application is filed with the board;

2. Passing the Practical Examination of Point Location Skills (PEPLS) test; and

3. Completing the CNT course as administered by the CCAOM.

18VAC85-110-90. Test of spoken English requirements.

A. An applicant applying for licensure to practice as an acupuncturist whose native language is not English and whose acupuncture education was also not in English shall submit evidence of having achieved a passing score as acceptable to the board on either the Test of Spoken English (TSE) or the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) administered by the Educational Testing Services.

B. An applicant applying for licensure to practice as an acupuncturist whose native language is not English and whose acupuncture education was also not in English shall be exempt from the requirement for TSE or TOEFL if the majority of his clients speak the language of the acupuncturist.

Scope of Practice Requirements

18VAC85-110-100. General requirements.

Prior to performing acupuncture, a licensed acupuncturist shall obtain written documentation that the patient has received a diagnostic examination within the past six months by a licensed doctor of medicine, osteopathy, chiropractic, or podiatry acting within the scope of his practice or shall provide to the patient a written recommendation for such a diagnostic examination on a form specified by the board and signed by the patient. The original of the signed form shall be maintained in the patient's chart and a copy provided to the patient.

18VAC85-110-110. Limitation of titles.

A person practicing as a licensed acupuncturist is restricted to the use of the titles "Lic.Ac." or "L.Ac." and shall not use the terms "physician" or "doctor" in his name or practice unless he simultaneously uses a clarifying title, initials, abbreviation or designation or language.

Herbal Regulations 
18VAC85-110-180. Vitamins, minerals and food supplements.

A. The recommendation or direction for the use of vitamins, minerals or food supplements and the rationale for that recommendation shall be documented by the practitioner. The recommendation or direction shall be based upon a reasonable expectation that such use will result in a favorable patient outcome, including preventive practices, and that a greater benefit will be achieved than that which can be expected without such use.

B. Vitamins, minerals, or food supplements, or a combination of the three, shall not be sold, dispensed, recommended, prescribed, or suggested in doses that would be contraindicated based on the individual patient’s overall medical condition and medications.

C. The practitioner shall conform to the standards of his particular branch of the healing arts in the therapeutic application of vitamins, minerals or food supplement therapy.

ACUPUNCTURE SOCIETY OF VIRGINIA
P.O. BOX 1125
WARRENTON, VA 20188
www.acusova.com  |  acusova@gmail.com 

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