Apply for a License
- Apply online
The Washington State Department of Health requires that only the applicant or licensee may complete an attestation for an application, or for continuing education. This is a legal attestation. Completion of the attestation by anyone other than the applicant may constitute a reportable felony offense. The Department of Health can take action against people for perjury or for making a false statement they know to be false.
For further information please see:
- Continuing education; WAC 246-12-180; How to prove compliance
- Initial and renewal credentialing of practitioners; WAC 246-12-020; How to obtain an initial credential
Washington State law authorizes the Department of Health to obtain fingerprint-based background checks for licensing purposes. This check may be through the Washington State Patrol and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. We may require this if you have lived in another state or if you have a criminal record in Washington State. This would be at your own expense.
You must pay the application fee at the time you apply. You may use a credit or debit card with a VISA or MasterCard logo, or pay by ACH/E-Check. Please make sure your address on the payment information screen matches the address your financial institution has on file for you. This fee is non-refundable. There is a convenience fee to apply online.
If we need additional documentation, we'll notify you by email.
There are additional items you may need, in addition to your application:
If you have questions, contact our Customer Service staff at 360-236-4700.
Online Application Instructions
See the online application video.
Online application instructions are on our website. Online applications are accessed through SecureAccess Washington (SAW) security portal. You'll need to add the Department of Health Online Application Portal service to access the online applications. The first time you add the service, you'll be prompted to answer several questions to verify your identity. The questions will match the name and address you provide with the existing public record information. Because the questions come from public record, you need to provide a complete address and your full legal name as it appears on your driver's license or birth certificate. You may find you have to enter a former address, especially if your address has changed recently (within the past one or two years) to get the right questions that pertain to your identity. If don't have sufficient information in the public record to verify your identity and aren't currently credentialed by the Department of Health, then you'll need to submit a paper application, as you won't be able to access the Online Application Portal.
Once you have completed the process you will receive an email with your pending credential number, or you may look on Provider Credential Search. Refer to this credential number any time you contact Department of Health or submit paperwork.
- Apply on paper
- The following forms are required for completing the application process. Please download and print forms.
- Sample forms for practitioners
- Additional forms
- See licensing fees below
- Fee Schedule
Non-Refundable Fee Type Fee Amount License application $109* License renewal $205* Inactive license renewal $59* Late renewal penalty $105 Expired license reissuance $50 Expired inactive license reissuance $50 Duplicate license $15 Certification of license $25 East Asian medicine practitioner training program application $500
* Includes the $9 fee to access the University of Washington HEAL-WA health resources website.
WAC 246-12-340 – Refund of fees
Fees submitted with applications for initial credentialing, examinations, renewal, and other fees associated with the licensing and regulation of the profession are non-refundable.
Primary Source Verification Letter (PDF)
- See licensing requirements below
Applicant must graduate from an American College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine accredited school, department-approved school or department-approved apprenticeship.
Applicant must request official transcript(s) with degree and date posted to be sent to the department. Transcripts not in English must have an official translation. A completed clinical training form (PDF) must be sent directly from applicant's program.
Applicant must list all professional education and experience including college or university, and a complete chronology of practice history from the date of acupuncturist or acupuncture and eastern medicine school graduation to present, if the activities related to acupuncturist or acupuncture and eastern medicine or not.
Applicant must pass the following exam modules administered by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM):
- Foundations of Oriental Medicine
- Acupuncture with Point Location
Verification of passing scores must be sent directly to the department.
Verification of having taken the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine clean needle technique course.
State license verification
Applicant must list all states where credentials are or were held, including where applicant has applied but a credential was not granted. A verification form must be completed and submitted by the jurisdiction where the applicant is or was credentialed. The jurisdiction must send the completed form directly to the department.
Personal data questions
Each applicant must answer the personal data questions. If there is a positive answer to the professional liability claims history question, the applicant must send an explanation of the nature of the case, data and summary of care given, copies of the original complaint, and the settlement or final disposition. If pending, applicant must indicate status.
Additional information/documents required
- Applicants must submit a copy of the front and back of their current cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) card.
- Completed background information form (PDF). List all basic science and all acupuncturist or acupuncture and Eastern medicine science courses that are being claimed to meet the education.
- Minimum of two academic years training in basic sciences. This must equal a minimum of 45 credits or 450 hours. Mandatory courses are:
- Survey of Western clinical sciences; and
- Acupuncture and eastern medicine science courses must equal a minimum of 75 credits or 750 hours. Mandatory courses are:
- Fundamental principles
- Meridians/vessels and points; and
- Techniques, including electro-acupuncture.
- Clinical training must consist of a minimum of 500 hours of supervised clinical training and include no more than 100 hours of observation that includes case presentation and discussion. At least 400 hours must be patient treatment.
Foreign-trained applicants must:
- Have at least a bachelor's or master's degree in acupuncture or acupuncture and eastern medicine from an institution of higher education that is approved by the country's ministry of education/health, or other governmental agency;
- Have graduated from a program of acupuncture or acupuncture and eastern medicine education with requirements substantially equal to those required of graduates of secretary of health-approved programs;
- Demonstrate fluency in ready, speaking and understanding the English language by taking the required NCCAOM exams in English or by passage of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Internet-based (IBT) exams.The TOEFL IBT scores must be at least:
- Twenty-four on the writing section;
- Twenty-six on the speaking section;
- Twenty-one on the reading section; and
- Eighteen on the listening comprehension section.
- Have a credential evaluation from the International Consultants of Delaware.The report must be sent directly to the department.
- Meet all of the license requirements.
Process for approving/denying applications
We finish final review for approval after a credentialing specialist verifies that the application is fully complete, and complies with requirements in chapter 18.06 RCW and chapter 246-803 WAC. We complete background checks and make sure applicants have submitted required fees. Credentialing supervisors and lead workers have the authority to approve routine applications. The disciplining authority may conduct further review if the credentialing supervisor can't verify the applicant meets all requirements. We'll formally notify applicants of a denial. Those applicants may request a hearing to appeal the decision.
Acupuncturists or acupuncture and eastern medicine practitioners must renew their license every year. Credentials expire on the credential holder's birthday and may be renewed within 90 days of the expiration date.
Continuing education requirements
Substitute House Bill (SHB) 1865, passed during the 2019 legislative session amended the law relating to acupuncture and Eastern medicine practitioners. The Department of Health will be holding rule workshops to adopt rules on continuing education as a condition of license renewal.