CNT Course Overview

Thank you for your interest in the Clean Needle Technique (CNT) course, administered by the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM). Successful completion of the CNT course is one of the requirements for certification by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM), as well as a licensing requirement in most states.

Before registering, please read the Policies and Procedures carefully and thoroughly. Be sure that you understand them, as you will be required to acknowledge your compliance during the registration process. If you have additional questions, review the Frequently Asked Questions or contact the CCAOM office.

Scope: The CNT course is a one-day program with lecture, demonstration, coaching sessions and practical and written exams to teach best practices in the safe delivery of acupuncture treatment. The course does not replace other coursework at accredited acupuncture colleges in acupuncture needling techniques, risk management, clinical safety, OSHA or CDC safety standards. The course does not address any didactic or theoretical information in acupuncture education other than safety issues and procedures.

Eligibility: All individuals in the following categories are eligible to submit a registration request for the CNT course and will be required to provide specific supporting documentation when registering. Eligibility will be verified before registration is approved. 

  • Currently enrolled acupuncture students who have completed a course including needling (please print and complete this form)
  • Currently enrolled in a state or NCCAOM approved tutorial program
  • Graduates from an acupuncture and/or Oriental medicine program or college
  • Licensed healthcare professionals legally authorized to practice acupuncture in the United States
  • NADA detoxification specialists.

Objectives: By the end of the CNT course, each participant will be able to:

  • Demonstrate safe and effective needling skills
  • Articulate/describe a clear understanding of what constitutes the clean field and demonstrate its correct set-up and maintenance
  • Recognize and evaluate the safety risks applicable in the environment, and in the practice, of acupuncture and associated adjunct techniques
  • Identify the common adverse effects (AE) of acupuncture, moxibustion, heat lamps, electro-acupuncture and cupping
  • Apply the critical and highly recommended procedures to reduce AE for acupuncture
  • Understand the disease transmission process, including blood borne pathogens and other infections that have been associated with healthcare settings in general and acupuncture specifically
  • Name the critical features of preventing disease transmission in AOM practice locations
  • Utilize best practices for hand hygiene for AOM procedures
  • Recognize national safety standards, including OSHA BBP standard, that apply to the AOM office
  • Demonstrate correct hand-washing techniques in an acupuncture clinic setting
  • Describe the etiology, major symptoms and prevention of the communicable diseases commonly seen in the acupuncture clinic setting
  • Demonstrate adequate clean needle technique in a house visit or an acupuncture clinic setting

    Outcomes: Attendees who successfully complete all course requirements are awarded a certificate which documents that the attendee has demonstrated competency in the safe handling of acupuncture needles in accordance with best practices in the field of acupuncture. Please note that completion of the course does not constitute an authorization to practice acupuncture as such authorization is conferred only by state law.

    Purpose: The purpose of the CNT course is to (1) promote public health and safety, (2) protect the well-being of acupuncturists, patients, employees, and the public, and (3) maintain public confidence in the acupuncture profession through the promotion of high national standards for safe clinical practice.

    Goals: The CNT program goals include:

    • Providing a uniform national course based on best practices for the safe delivery of acupuncture treatment;
    • Verifying that graduates of acupuncture programs have mastered the knowledge and skills required to perform acupuncture safely;
    • Demonstrating the importance of adhering to best safety practices in the delivery of acupuncture treatment.

    History: The CNT course was originally developed in 1985 by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) as part of a program of certification of professional competence to practice acupuncture safely and effectively. In 1990, the NCCAOM transferred the responsibility for administering the CNT course to the CCAOM. The Council has continually improved the theoretical and practical components of the rigorous, state-of-the-art course.