Code Section Group

Business and Professions Code - BPC

DIVISION 2. HEALING ARTS [500 - 4999.129]

  ( Division 2 enacted by Stats. 1937, Ch. 399. )

CHAPTER 12. Acupuncture [4925 - 4979]

  ( Chapter 12 repealed (in Sec. 11) and added by Stats. 1980, Ch. 1313, Sec. 11.5. )

ARTICLE 2. Certification Requirements [4935 - 4949]
  ( Article 2 added by Stats. 1980, Ch. 1313, Sec. 11.5. )

4935.
  

(a) (1) It is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100) and not more than two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment, for any person who does not hold a current and valid license to practice acupuncture under this chapter or to hold himself or herself out as practicing or engaging in the practice of acupuncture.

(2) It is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100) and not more than two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment, for any person to fraudulently buy, sell, or obtain a license to practice acupuncture, or to violate the provisions of this chapter.

(b) Notwithstanding any other law, any person, other than a physician and surgeon, a dentist, or a podiatrist, who is not licensed under this article but is licensed under Division 2 (commencing with Section 500), who practices acupuncture involving the application of a needle to the human body, performs any acupuncture technique or method involving the application of a needle to the human body, or directs, manages, or supervises another person in performing acupuncture involving the application of a needle to the human body is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(c) A person holds himself or herself out as engaging in the practice of acupuncture by the use of any title or description of services incorporating the words “acupuncture,” “acupuncturist,” “certified acupuncturist,” “licensed acupuncturist,” “Asian medicine,” “oriental medicine,” or any combination of those words, phrases, or abbreviations of those words or phrases, or by representing that he or she is trained, experienced, or an expert in the field of acupuncture, Asian medicine, or Chinese medicine.

(d) Subdivision (a) shall not prohibit a person from administering acupuncture treatment as part of his or her educational training if he or she:

(1) Is engaged in a course or tutorial program in acupuncture, as provided in this chapter; or

(2) Is a graduate of an approved educational and training program and participating in a postgraduate review course that does not exceed one year in duration at an approved educational and training program.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 397, Sec. 6. (SB 1246) Effective January 1, 2015.)

4936.
  

(a) It is unprofessional conduct for an acupuncturist to use the title “Doctor” or the abbreviation “Dr.” in connection with the practice of acupuncture unless he or she possesses a license that authorizes the use or possesses an earned doctorate degree from an accredited, approved, or authorized educational institution as set forth under Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 94800) of Part 59 of Division 10 of Title 3 of the Education Code, which is in acupuncture, oriental medicine, a biological science, or is otherwise related to the authorized practice of an acupuncturist as set forth in Sections 4927 and 4937.

(b) The use of the title “Doctor” or the abbreviation “Dr.” by an acupuncturist as authorized in subdivision (a) without further indicating the type of license or degree which authorizes that use shall constitute unprofessional conduct.

(Added by Stats. 2012, Ch. 326, Sec. 1. (SB 628) Effective January 1, 2013.)

4937.
  

An acupuncturist’s license authorizes the holder thereof:

(a) To engage in the practice of acupuncture.

(b) To perform or prescribe the use of Asian massage, acupressure, breathing techniques, exercise, heat, cold, magnets, nutrition, diet, herbs, plant, animal, and mineral products, and dietary supplements to promote, maintain, and restore health. Nothing in this section prohibits any person who does not possess an acupuncturist’s license or another license as a healing arts practitioner from performing, or prescribing the use of any modality listed in this subdivision.

(c) For purposes of this section, a “magnet” means a mineral or metal that produces a magnetic field without the application of an electric current.

(d) For purposes of this section, “plant, animal, and mineral products” means naturally occurring substances of plant, animal, or mineral origin, except that it does not include synthetic compounds, controlled substances or dangerous drugs as defined in Sections 4021 and 4022, or a controlled substance listed in Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 11053) of Division 10 of the Health and Safety Code.

(e) For purposes of this section, “dietary supplement” has the same meaning as defined in subsection (ff) of Section 321 of Title 21 of the United States Code, except that dietary supplement does not include controlled substances or dangerous drugs as defined in Section 4021 or 4022, or a controlled substance listed in Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 11053) of Division 10 of the Health and Safety Code.

(Amended by Stats. 2005, Ch. 649, Sec. 6. Effective January 1, 2006.)

4938.
  

(a) The board shall issue a license to practice acupuncture to any person who makes an application and meets the following requirements:

(1) Is at least 18 years of age.

(2) Furnishes satisfactory evidence of completion of one of the following:

(A) (i) An approved educational and training program.

(ii) If an applicant began his or her educational and training program at a school or college that submitted a letter of intent to pursue accreditation to, or attained candidacy status from, the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, but the commission subsequently denied the school or college candidacy status or accreditation, respectively, the board may review and evaluate the educational training and clinical experience to determine whether to waive the requirements set forth in this subdivision with respect to that applicant.

(B) Satisfactory completion of a tutorial program in the practice of an acupuncturist that is approved by the board.

(C) In the case of an applicant who has completed education and training outside the United States, documented educational training and clinical experience that meets the standards established pursuant to Sections 4939 and 4941.

(3) Passes a written examination administered by the board that tests the applicant’s ability, competency, and knowledge in the practice of an acupuncturist. The written examination shall be developed by the Office of Professional Examination Services of the Department of Consumer Affairs.

(4) Is not subject to denial pursuant to Division 1.5 (commencing with Section 475).

(5) Completes a clinical internship training program approved by the board. The clinical internship training program shall not exceed nine months in duration and shall be located in a clinic in this state that is an approved educational and training program. The length of the clinical internship shall depend upon the grades received in the examination and the clinical training already satisfactorily completed by the individual prior to taking the examination. On and after January 1, 1987, individuals with 800 or more hours of documented clinical training shall be deemed to have met this requirement. The purpose of the clinical internship training program shall be to ensure a minimum level of clinical competence.

(b) Each applicant who qualifies for a license shall pay, as a condition precedent to its issuance and in addition to other fees required, the initial licensure fee.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 667, Sec. 4. (AB 2190) Effective January 1, 2017.)

4939.
  

(a) For purposes of this chapter, “approved credential evaluation service” means an agency or organization that is approved by the board to evaluate education completed outside the United States and identify the equivalency of that education to education completed within the United States.

(b) If an applicant completes education outside of the United States, the applicant shall do both of the following:

(1) Submit documentation of his or her education to a board-approved credential evaluation service for evaluation.

(2) Have the results of the evaluation sent directly from the credential evaluation service to the board.

(c) If the board receives the results of an applicant’s evaluation pursuant to subdivision (b), the board shall examine the results and determine whether the applicant meets requirements for licensure. If the evaluated education is not sufficient to meet the requirements for licensure, the board may offer the applicant additional education, training, or standardized testing to satisfy the educational requirements. The board shall not require the applicant to complete education, training, or testing that is not otherwise required of applicants who complete education or training within the United States.

(d) The board shall establish, by regulation, an application process, criteria, and procedures for approval of credential evaluation services. The regulations shall, at a minimum, require the credential evaluation service to meet all of the following requirements:

(1) Furnish evaluations written in English directly to the board.

(2) Be a member of a nationally recognized foreign credential evaluation association, such as, but not limited to, the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers or the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services.

(3) Undergo reevaluation by the board every five years.

(4) Certify to the board that the credential evaluation service maintains a complete set of reference materials as determined by the board.

(5) Base evaluations only upon verified authentic, official transcripts, and degrees.

(6) Have a written procedure for identifying fraudulent transcripts.

(7) Include in an evaluation report submitted to the board the specific method or methods of authentication for the transcripts, certification, degrees, and other education evaluated for the purposes of the report.

(8) Include in the evaluation report, for each degree held by the applicant, the equivalent degree offered in the United States, the date the degree was granted, the institution granting the degree, an English translation of the course titles, and the semester unit equivalence for each course.

(9) Have an appeal procedure for applicants.

(10) Provide information concerning the credential evaluation service to the board that includes, but is not limited to, resumes or curriculum vitae for each evaluator and translator, which includes biographical information, three letters of references from public or private agencies, statistical information on the number of applications processed annually for the past five years, and any other information the board may require to determine whether the credential evaluation service meets the standards under this subdivision and the board’s regulations.

(11) Provide to the board all information required by the board, including, but not limited to, the following:

(A) Its credential evaluation policy.

(B) A complete list of terminology and evaluation terms used in producing its credential evaluations.

(C) A detailed description of the specific methods utilized for credential authentication.

(Repealed and added by Stats. 2016, Ch. 667, Sec. 6. (AB 2190) Effective January 1, 2017.)

4940.
  

(a) The board shall establish standards for the approval of tutorial programs for education and training in the practice of acupuncture, that satisfy the requirements of Section 4938. The board shall also establish standards for the approved supervising acupuncturists.

(b) An acupuncturist shall be approved to supervise a trainee, provided the supervisor meets the following conditions:

(1) Is licensed to practice acupuncture in this state and that license is current, valid, and has not been suspended or revoked or otherwise subject to disciplinary action.

(2) Has filed an application with the board.

(3) Files with the board the name of each trainee to be trained or employed and a training program satisfactory to the board.

(4) Does not train or employ more than two acupuncture trainees at any one time.

(5) Has at least 10 years of experience practicing as an acupuncturist and has been licensed in this state for at least five years.

(6) Is found by the board to have the knowledge necessary to educate and train the trainee in the practice of an acupuncturist.

The amendments made to this section at the 1993 portion of the 1993–94 Regular Session of the Legislature shall not affect the approval of any supervising acupuncturist which has been issued prior to the effective date of those amendments.

(Amended by Stats. 1999, Ch. 655, Sec. 64. Effective January 1, 2000.)

4941.
  

In reviewing applications for licensure based upon the completion of a tutorial program in acupuncture, the board may provide that credit is granted for relevant prior training and experience when that training or experience otherwise meets the standards set by the board.

(Amended by Stats. 1999, Ch. 655, Sec. 65. Effective January 1, 2000.)

4944.
  

(a) The board shall have the authority to investigate and evaluate each and every applicant applying for a license to practice acupuncture and to make the final determination of the admission of the applicant to the examination, or for the issuance of a license, in conformance with the provisions of this chapter.

(b) The board shall investigate and evaluate each school or college applying for approval under Section 4939 and may utilize and contract with consultants to evaluate those training programs. This subdivision shall become inoperative on January 1, 2017.

(c) The board may delegate to the executive officer or other official of the board its authority under this section in routine matters.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 397, Sec. 10. (SB 1246) Effective January 1, 2015.)

4945.
  

(a) The board shall establish standards for continuing education for acupuncturists.

(b) The board shall require each acupuncturist to complete 50 hours of continuing education every two years as a condition for renewal of his or her license. No more than five hours of continuing education in each two-year period may be spent on issues unrelated to clinical matters or the actual provision of health care to patients. A provider of continuing education shall apply to the board for approval to offer continuing education courses for credit toward this requirement on a form developed by the board, shall pay a fee covering the cost of approval and for the monitoring of the provider by the board and shall set forth the following information on the application:

(1) Course content.

(2) Test criteria.

(3) Hours of continuing education credit requested for the course.

(4) Experience and training of instructors.

(5) Other information as required by the board.

(6) That interpreters or bilingual instruction will be made available, when necessary.

(c) Licensees residing out of state or out of the country shall comply with the continuing education requirements.

(d) Providers of continuing education shall be monitored by the board as determined by the board.

(e) If the board determines that any acupuncturist has not obtained the required number of hours of continuing education, it may renew the acupuncturist’s license and require that the deficient hours of continuing education be made up during the following renewal period in addition to the current continuing education required for that period. If any acupuncturist fails to make up the deficient hours and complete the current requirement of hours of continuing education during the subsequent renewal period, then his or her license to practice acupuncture shall not be renewed until all the required hours are completed and documented to the board.

(Amended (as amended by Stats. 2000, Ch. 568) by Stats. 2005, Ch. 648, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2006.)

4947.
  

(a) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent the practice of acupuncture by a person licensed as a dentist or a podiatrist, within the scope of their respective licenses, if the licensee has received a course of instruction in acupuncture. This course material shall be approved by the licensing board having jurisdiction over the licensee. The board shall assist the licensing boards in providing information as requested by the individual licensing boards.

(b) The course requirement set forth in subdivision (a) shall not apply to a podiatrist or dentist who has completed a course in acupuncture, including a continuing education course, and has utilized acupuncture prior to July 1, 1982.

(Amended by Stats. 1999, Ch. 655, Sec. 68. Effective January 1, 2000.)

4948.
  

The provisions of this chapter shall not be construed to make unlawful the activities of persons involved in research pursuant to Section 2075.

(Repealed and added by Stats. 1980, Ch. 1313, Sec. 11.5. Section operative July 1, 1982, pursuant to former Section 4974.5.)

4949.
  

The provisions of this chapter shall not prohibit an acupuncturist from another state or country, who is not a licensed acupuncturist in this state, who is the invited guest of a professional acupuncture association or scientific acupuncture foundation, an approved educational and training program, or a continuing education provider that is approved under Section 4945, solely from engaging in professional education through lectures, clinics, or demonstrations. The guest acupuncturist may engage in the practice of acupuncture in conjunction with these lectures, clinics, or demonstrations for a maximum of six months, but may not open an office or appoint a place to meet patients or receive calls from patients or otherwise engage in the practice of acupuncture.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 397, Sec. 11. (SB 1246) Effective January 1, 2015.)

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