Online Acupuncture Schools and Courses

Since acupuncture is a hands-on field, online learning options are limited. Certified acupuncturists can find continuing education courses from accredited schools online. For those just beginning their studies, there are hybrid acupuncture education programs that offer a combination of on-site and Web components. Learn about both of these options in greater detail, and review the certification requirements for acupuncturists. Schools offering Complementary & Alternative Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Online acupuncture programs are limited, but hybrid degrees do exist. Students may be required to pass a certification exam prior to working in their state of choice. Online coursework covers topics like Diagnosis in Acupuncture, Treating Imbalances of the Liver, and Treating Blood Disorders.

Online Hybrid programs that require a mix of in-person and online work are available
Classes Diagnosis in Acupuncture, Prescribing Chinese Herbal Medicine, Biomechanical Responses to Needling, Treating Blood Disorders
Licensing Most states require acupuncturists to hold a license

What Should I Look for in an Acupuncture School?

Acupuncture is commonly a part of training in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) reports that practitioners are subject to licensing regulations in most states and that the majority of these states require NCCAOM certification as a prerequisite to licensure ( Initial training in TCM involves intensive on-site clinical training components.

For thousands of years, acupuncture has been used in Asia, but it's beginning to gain popularity in the West, explains the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine ( There is currently a range of TCM schools teaching various approaches to acupuncture. According to the NCCAOM, in order to be eligible to sit for certification exams, your courses should meet the standards set forth by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (

The following is a list of schools that offer online acupuncture courses and programs:

  • International Academy of Medical Acupuncture
  • Healthcare Medicine Institute
  • Maryland University of Integrative Health
  • Daoist Traditions College of Chinese Medical Arts
  • California Institute of Integral Studies

Are There Online Programs for Initial Licensure and Certification?

Although programs are rare, it is possible to study acupuncture through blended online and on-campus programs. As a distance learner, you may be required to participate in 2-week, intensive on-campus classes every four months for the first two years and a year-long clinical residency on-site at a school's teaching clinic for the entire third year. Through Web-based courses, you may cover these areas of interest:

  • Basic acupuncture concepts
  • Point location techniques
  • Theories of acupuncture

What Other Programs Are Offered?

Other hybrid programs offer an accelerated course of study designed for health professionals, such as chiropractors and naturopathic doctors, who are preparing for acupuncture certification. Such post-graduate certification programs may necessitate attendance at a series of 2-day, on-site clinical sessions for almost half of the courses in order to teach you about the following:

  • Safe needling techniques
  • Electroacupuncture
  • Laser acupuncture

What About Certification?

The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) administers certification exams for acupuncture, Chinese herbology, Oriental medicine and Asian bodywork therapy ( Certification from the NCCAOM demonstrates your competency in the core knowledge and skills expected of a practitioner. The NCCAOM exam tests your abilities and requires a minimum of three years of acupuncture training, including hands-on clinical experience in accurately locating acupuncture points and practicing clean needle techniques.

What Continuing Education Courses Can I Take Online?

As a licensed practitioner, you will already be knowledgeable of the methods for stimulating acupuncture points with needles, pressure and heat through clinical training and practice. Web classes will further deepen your understanding of the principles and philosophy behind TCM and enhance your repertoire of complementary treatments. Distance-learning courses cover such topics as:

  • Origin of disease in TCM
  • Diagnosis in acupuncture
  • Biomechanical responses to needling
  • Treating imbalances of the liver
  • Treating blood disorders
  • Acupuncture for ear infections
  • Theories of diagnosis with the eight principle patterns of disharmony
  • Prescribing Chinese herbal medicine
  • Herb-drug interactions and safety precautions

How Do Distance-Learning Programs Work?

Most continuing education courses in TCM are self-directed, can be downloaded instantly and completed at your own pace. Some programs offer course materials on CD in addition to downloading. Once you've passed an online exam to demonstrate your grasp of the material, you will immediately receive an electronic certificate of course completion to apply towards your acupuncture license renewal.

Some blended on-site and online programs offer final exams on-campus. However, many schools accommodate out of state students and faculty members by scheduling intensive on-site clinical courses so that you only have to be present a few weeks per year. Some schools may even provide multiple locations for on-site classes.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Miller-Motte College

    Miller-Motte College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Miller-Motte College:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • University of Bridgeport

    Campus Locations:

    • Connecticut: Bridgeport
  • Won Institute of Graduate Studies

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: Glenside
  • Texas Health and Science University

    Campus Locations:

    • Texas: Austin