The Department of Health adopted the continuing education rule April 8, 2021. The adopted rule requirements are effective May1, 2021. The rule adopts appropriate continuing education subject matter, minimum and maximum number of hours in specified subject matter, and methods to obtain continuing education including web-based options.
- How many hours of continuing education do I need to renew my acupuncture or acupuncture and Eastern medicine practitioner license?
Twenty hours every two years. State law details continuing education requirements for acupuncturists or acupuncture and Eastern medicine practitioners (WAC 246-803-420).
- When does my two-year reporting period start?
The two-year continuing education reporting period for an acupuncturist or acupuncture and Eastern medicine practitioner licensed in Washington before 2021 began May 1, 2021. Verification of completion of continuing education hours will be due on the acupuncturist's or acupuncture and Eastern medicine practitioner’s annual license renewal date in 2023, and every two years thereafter.
The two-year continuing education reporting period for an acupuncturist or acupuncture and Eastern medicine practitioner initially licensed in Washington in 2021 or later begins upon date of licensure and every two years thereafter.
- Do I need to send copies of certificates of completion?
No. You must sign an affidavit of compliance every two years. You'll find the affidavit on your annual renewal notice. You must renew your license annually.
- How long do I have to keep continuing education documentation?
You must keep your documentation for four years.
- May I count continuing education hours I accumulate for other sources, (i.e., national certification with specialty organizations, etc.) towards this requirement?
Yes. The hours must be within the appropriate reporting period. Proof of completion of continuing education hours must meet WAC 246-803-420(2).
- How many continuing education hours can I obtain online?
There is a limit of six hours every two years that will count towards continuing education.
- Are live interactive Webinars considered self-study or online education?
Live interactive Webinars are specifically indicated as allowable in WAC 246-803-420(5)(a) of the rule. Full credit is allowed for live interactive webinars.
- Is there a limit on the number of hours for live interactive Webinars?
No. No limit is indicated in WAC 246-803-420(5)(a).
- May I count continuing education hours from one reporting period to the next reporting period?
No. You cannot carry over continuing education in excess of the required hours earned in a reporting period to the next reporting period (WAC 246-12-230).
- May I count a course taken in year one of the continuing education reporting period and count the same course again in year two of the continuing education reporting period?
No. You may not count the same course twice in one CE reporting period (WAC 246-12-230).
- May I complete all 20 hours of continuing education in the first or second year of my reporting period?
Yes. The 20 hours of continuing education can be obtained any time during the required two-year reporting period.
- How do I document teaching hours for continuing education?
A letter from the institution detailing the subject and hours you taught is acceptable.
- May I count NCCAOM certification as continuing education?
Yes. Certification and recertification must have been obtained during your continuing education reporting period to count 20 hours.
- We want to provide a continuing education course. How do we obtain approval?
The department does not approve or accredit continuing education courses or providers. Law indicates that a credit hour for time actually spent in a course cannot be less than 50 minutes (WAC 246-12, Part 7). All courses must be designed to enhance the professional development of the acupuncturist or acupuncture and Eastern medicine practitioner and to enhance the clinical and overall skills needed to protect the health and safety of all patients. You may provide proof of completion or participation to the acupuncturists or acupuncture and Eastern medicine practitioners attending your course, stating the name of the course, the date(s) taken, subject, and the total number of continuing education hours completed.
- Does my study club have to be recognized by some entity to be considered acceptable?
No. Study club hours are an acceptable source of continuing education, provided the coursework is designed to enhance the professional knowledge and development of the practitioner or to enhance services provided to patients. We do realize there are various types of study clubs and that some are more social in nature, while others are offered, authorized or accredited by various professional organizations. You may provide proof of completion or participation to the acupuncturists or acupuncture and Eastern medicine practitioners attending your course, stating the name of the course, the date(s) taken, subject, and the total number of continuing education hours completed. Coursework will determine if it is acceptable continuing education.
- Explain the volunteer services category – what types of volunteer services are acceptable?
The department recognizes the value of acupuncturists or acupuncture and Eastern medicine practitioners providing volunteer services to targeted populations. The acupuncturist or acupuncture and Eastern medicine practitioner and recipient both benefit. Up to ten continuing education hours can be accumulated every two years. Examples of this type of continuing education would be working with the Special Olympics, working with homeless programs, etc. It isn't the intention for continuing education hours to be granted for routine pro-bono work.
- May I get an extension of time to complete my continuing education?
Acupuncturists or acupuncture and Eastern medicine practitioners may be excused from or granted an extension of continuing education requirements due to illness or other extenuating circumstances. Law requires continuing education to renew your annual license. Any requests should be made several weeks before your renewal date to prevent delays in processing your license renewal. Requests must be in writing and sent to the Acupuncture and Eastern Medicine program manager by email or mail:
Acupuncture and Eastern Medicine Program
P.O. Box 47852
Olympia, WA 98504-7852
You cannot practice without an active license.
- Why is my license renewal every year if continuing education is required every two years?
WAC 246-803-990 requires annual license renewal. Although continuing education is required at time of renewal, the continuing education rule, WAC 246-803-420, is separate from the license renewal rule.
- When will I be audited for continuing education?
Continuing education audits are random and fall in the month you renew your license. If you receive an audit letter, respond with appropriate copies of your continuing education documentation.
- When can I begin taking continuing education to meet the new 20-hour continuing education requirement?
On or after May 1, 2021.
Summary of continuing education required for licensed acupuncturists or acupuncture and Eastern medicine practitioners
- Acupuncture or acupuncture and Eastern medicine license
Every two years: 20 hours
- Acupuncture or acupuncture and Eastern medicine practitioner suicide prevention education
One time only: 6 hours
- CPR and basic first aid
Current certification required.