Ancient Remedies for Modern Lives

How to Start Your Acupuncture Career

In order to start your career as an acupuncture and Oriental medicine practitioner, you must acquire licensure. Most US states that license acupuncturists require certification by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).

Only graduates of acupuncture schools accredited (or in the process of becoming accredited) by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) can take the national certification exams offered by NCCAOM.

Some states like California and Nevada have specific licensing requirements for acupuncturists, and graduates need to pass the relevant state board exams in order to be able to practice in these states. Recent graduate Anita Lanier, who received her master’s degree in acupuncture and Oriental medicine from Emperor’s College in Santa Monica, California, sat for three licensing exams – the national certification exam, the California acupuncture boards, and the Nevada state boards – and she passed all of them.

In this blog post Lanier shares the secret to her success and why she decided to start her acupuncture career in Nevada.

Congratulations, Anita, on passing the Nevada state board exam, one of the most challenging acupuncture board exams in the country. How did the Emperor’s College master’s program prepare you for this exam?

Portrait of Anita Lanier

Anita Lanier, LAc, OMD

Thank you! With the Nevada licensing exam, failing one of the seven exam sections means failing the entire exam. The margin for error is small. I have to give credit to my hardest teachers Michael Redmond for giving me such a strong Western science foundation – because of him  I was able to recall many of the concepts in biochemistry that showed up in that exam.

Dr. Thom Nguyen’s pathophysiology course books were also invaluable for reviewing the conceptual and detailed information I needed. I also had an outstanding study buddy whose generosity and resourcefulness during our time at Emperor’s College helped me every step of the way.

The materials our teachers work so hard to prepare for us to use in class have been excellent resources for review. I revisited their charts, handouts, booklets from my courses in addition to the usual review materials. My success is very much a shared one.

Looking back on your education, are there aspects of the program that you particularly appreciate?

There is a culture of generosity at Emperor’s College among staff, faculty, supervisors, and students alike. We help each other, we root for each other, we console one another, and we celebrate our triumphs. And in the clinic, I think what many of our patients appreciate most of all is that we listen to them. More than that, we are encouraged to cultivate the habit of being present with one another and with our patients.

In addition to the Nevada state board exam, you also passed the California state board exam and the national board exam – all within seven months. Do you have any advice for students in an Oriental medicine master’s program to help them prepare for both the national and state board exams?

For me, full immersion was an effective way to study. I intentionally took all the exams in close proximity to each other. For me, success includes finding compatible study buddies, asking questions of those who’ve recently taken the exams, and taking online and/or live test preparation courses. Of course, adequate self-care is a must.

Why did you decide to practice Oriental medicine in Nevada and where in Nevada are you planning on practicing?

Anita Lanier's Nevada license

Anita Lanier’s Nevada State Board license

In 2002 my husband and I moved to Boulder City, Nevada, about 30 minutes from Las Vegas. We have been active in the local community since 2004 when we founded the Dam Short Film Festival. After injuring my back working as a massage therapist, and deciding to change careers, we thought we could make a go of splitting our time between Los Angeles and Nevada from 2009-2012 while I attended Emperor’s College.

I am excited about practicing acupuncture in Nevada because the state is under-served while the need and interest is great. I will be the only acupuncturist in my town of 15,000. And in Henderson, the next city over, with a population of 270,000, there is one licensed acupuncturist. I’d say there’s room for more.

Out of all US states California, New York and Florida have the most practicing acupuncturists. Nevada seems to be an up-and-coming state for Oriental medicine practitioners. How do you think Oriental medicine will develop in Nevada in the near future?

With its lower cost of living, Nevada attracts residents from other states who are used to having access to a wide variety of complementary and alternative health care services. My challenge isn’t going to be competing with other providers, but in providing patient education and helping patients to overcome their fear and inertia.

Dr. Anita Lanier, OMD, Dipl. OM & ABT (NCCAOM), an Emperor’s College alumnus, is an Oriental medicine practitioner who earned licensure from the Nevada State Board of Oriental Medicine in January 2013. She is also a licensed acupuncturist in the state of California and a nationally certified diplomat in Oriental medicine (NCCAOM). Before entering the master’s program of acupuncture and Oriental medicine at Emperor’s College in Santa Monica, California, Lanier worked as a nationally certified massage therapist for a decade. She has also taught Shiatsu at the College of Southern Nevada and the California Healing Arts College in West Los Angeles. Lanier is also co-founder of the Dam Short Film Festival in Boulder City, Nevada.

photo credit: B Rosen via photopin cc

1 Comment

  1. Anita- Congratulations, and thank you for such an inspirational and insightful message. We are so honored that you are an Emperor’s graduate- you are TRULY an exceptional human being and superior doctor!