Troy Heinrichs
Licensed Acupuncturist

In the US it has been possible to get an academic degree in acupuncture since the 1980s. At this time, the standard acupuncture and oriental medicine program is 4 years, year round, after at least 2 years of prerequisite undergrad classes. There are two accrediting agencies for acupuncture schools: the California Acupuncture Board and NCCAOM (The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine). The US Department of Education recognizes the NCCAOM as the degree granting authority in the field of acupuncture, allowing acupuncture schools to offer federal financial aid. California’s state laws for acupuncture education are above and beyond NCCAOM certifications. Every California Acupuncture Board accredited school is also accredited by the NCCAOM, but not vice versa.

I went to arguably the best school of acupuncture and Chinese medicine in the United States, Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Los Angeles. My program of study was over 3,000 hours after college. I completed a year of intern and externships, where I treated hundreds of patients. This was over the course of 4 years, after which I had earned my master’s degree in acupuncture and Chinese medicine. After graduation, I took and passed the California Acupuncture Exam and the NCCAOM exams, totaling 14 hours of testing. Soon after, I was one of the first 2 students ever to be offered a job as a clinic supervisor in the Yo San University Clinic, without already having been licensed and practicing for several years. Besides a job, this provided me with continued hands on training, since I was still in a school clinic interfacing with doctors who were previously my supervisors, who got their education in China and have been practicing for decades, and who I had the utmost respect for. I also took, and must continue to take, continuing education classes to keep my licenses current.

“My program of study was over 3,000 hours AFTER college!”

Troy Heinrichs, Licensed Acupuncturist # 29
L.Ac., Dipl. OM, MAcTCM
I attended a DAOM program (doctor of acupuncture and oriental medicine). When I made this website, I only had a master’s, which was and still is the requirement for getting a license. In fact the doctorate didn’t exist yet when I graduated with my master’s!

The initials L.Ac. indicate a California licensed acupuncturist, Dipl. Ac. or Dipl. Om are NCCAOM certifications. I hold both credentials. My license in California, where acupuncturists are primary care physicians, is AC13585. In my native state of Nebraska, I am Licensed Acupuncturist # 29. In Nebraska acupuncturists cannot use the title of doctor or MD. However, medical doctors and chiropractors are allowed to practice acupuncture with no additional training in Nebraska. Any training they have is from continuing education courses, which acupuncturists are also required to take. Neither learn Chinese medicine in school, so their training is limited and incomparable to the training of a licensed acupuncturist. You should know the difference before you try this medicine. You would certainly be able to feel the difference.


A California licensed acupuncturist

Dipl. Ac. or Dipl. Om

are NCCAOM certifications (I hold both)


Master of Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine