This study was conducted to identify the approximate number and density of actively licensed acupuncturists, as well as the number of schools in acupuncture and oriental medicine (AOM) by January 1, 2018 in the United States (U.S.). We contacted the appropriate department governing acupuncturists, such as the Board of Acupuncture or Board of Medicine, etc. in each state and U.S. territories, to collect the data. We also conducted online license information searches in order to collect the most accurate numbers of licensed acupuncturists, especially for those states in which a board could not be reached. We found that the number of actively licensed acupuncturists as of January 1, 2018 in the U.S. was 37,886. The ten states with the largest number of acupuncturists (28,452 or 75.09% of the U.S. total), in order by total, included California, New York, Florida, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Texas, New Jersey, Maryland and Massachusetts. The number of practitioners was greater than 1000 for each of these states. Among them, the largest three were California (12,135; 32.03%), New York (4438; 11.71%) and Florida (2705; 7.13%). These three states accounted for more than half of the overall total. The number of total licensed acupuncturists has increased 257% since 1998. The overall acupuncturist density in the U.S. - measured as number of acupuncturists per 100,000 - was 11.63 (total number of licensed acupuncturists: 37,886, divided by the total population: 325,719,178 at the start of 2018). There were 20 states with an acupuncturist density of more than 10 per 100,000 population. Hawaii (52.82) was the highest, followed by Oregon (34.88), Vermont (30.79), California (30.69) and then New Mexico (30.27). There were 62 active, accredited AOM schools which altogether offered 100 programs: 32 master degrees in Acupuncture, 53 master degrees in Oriental medicine, 13 postgraduate doctorate degrees and 2 entry-level doctorate degrees. Among these active accredited schools, institutions in the West and East Coast states comprised 77.42% of the national total. California, Florida, and New York represented 41.94%. There were 48 jurisdictions (47 States and the District of Columbia) with acupuncture practice laws in place. States without acupuncture laws included Alabama, Oklahoma and South Dakota. The data suggests that acupuncture profession has steadily grown in the United States.
Keywords: Acupuncture educational institution; Acupuncture regulation; Acupuncturist; Density; Distribution; Oriental medicine; United States.
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