Acupuncture State Registration

Acupuncture State Registration is currently an agenda for the Irish Health Board, as in Europe there are moves toward unification of training standards, self-regulation and state registration in many countries.

Primary Health Care

In Ireland, the Department of Health has been working toward eventual state registration of the main primary health care modalities, including acupuncture, herbal medicine, chiropractic, osteopathy, classical homoeopathy etc. At present, they have chosen to focus on acupuncture state registration and are taking a staged approach. The first stage is to facilitate the profession in the formation of a single, impartial self-regulating body for the profession as a whole.

History in Ireland

Historically, such a single self-regulating body was originally established in 1984 at a meeting of all the practicing acupuncturists in the country at that time. It was named The Association of Irish Acupuncturists (AIAc.) and was run very effectively and impartially by elected volunteers. Completely independent of any other group or training organisation, it continued to faithfully represent a large proportion of practicing, non-practicing and student acupuncturists in Ireland until its amalgamation with the ACI in 2005.

As various colleges emerged during the 1980’s and 1990’s, some set up their own student’s registers and insurance programs and chose to remain independent of the AIAc.

Current Situation

Currently, in order to conform to the requirements of the Department of Health in establishing acupuncture state registration a steering committee has been formed with the intention of assisting in the amalgamation the all of the independent representative bodies into a federation under central banner of one unifying organisation.

To facilitate this transition, a new body comprised of the original AIAc and two others was established in 2005. This new body, the Acupuncture Council of Ireland (trading as TCMCI) along with a number of other bodies representing the graduates of various acupuncture schools, is currently involved in discussions with the Department of health through a steering committee. While it is too soon to say what the eventual outcome will be, tremendous personal effort has been expended by those involved in the process of amalgamation within ACI as well as the other representative bodies who are involved in joint discussions with the Department.

At present, it appears that once a single self regulating body can be formed according to a structure that is felt to fairly represent and protect the interests of both its members and the public they serve, the Department will then be in a position to proceed with the next steps toward eventual acupuncture state registration.

In the meantime, acupuncturists in Ireland continue to be independently represented and subscribe to a variety of insurance schemes. However, progress is being made and we have reasonable hope that the inevitable concerns of the various groups will be resolved shortly and that a working confederation will be effected.

Accreditation of Colleges

Regarding the status of colleges in Ireland, there will not be an effective route to local accreditation until the above confederation has been achieved and implemented to the satisfaction of both the acupuncture community as a whole and the Department of Health. For prospective students at this time wishing to evaluate and choose acupuncture school in Ireland, look for affiliation with a respected Chinese University and adherence to WHO training standards. (Please see the page “Choose Acupuncture School”.)

Prerequisites for Practice

As of October 2007, graduates from any of the existing colleges in Ireland may freely apply to ACI (TCMCI) for membership and to avail of the group insurance scheme offered. Application requires proof of certification from the graduating college and a brief interview with the Membership Committee. Some college representative bodies still offer their own individual insurance schemes and some may prefer that route at present. However there is of course no disadvantage in a member of any profession being affiliated to more than one representative body. Once certified and insured, you will be free to initiate your professional practise.


So in short, it seems that the direction in regulation of the health care industry is towards state registration of the primary health care sector. While we have no idea of the eventual timing, it is encouraging to see that complementary medicines are being given more serious consideration by the health departments of European and other countries worldwide.


If you live overseas, you will need to investigate your local regulatory mechanisms as they apply to your particular country or state regarding requirements for acupuncture state registration and practise.


If you live in Ireland, it is encouraging to note that our government is leading the move towards change in Europe. It is taking very positive steps towards creating more cohesion between currently state registered medicine and those significant modalities currently outside its jurisdiction. We can reasonably look forward to a bright future for acupuncture in this country as it progressively becomes an even more respected and fulfilling career choice.

Acupuncture State Registration

Acupuncture State Registration - Graduate Skills


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