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New Independent SOC for Acupuncturists proposed
by the BLS for 2018

January  2018

The NCCAOM is pleased to announce that Bureau of Labor Statistics has published the final 2018 BLS Occupational Handbook with the new Standard Occupational Classification code for Acupuncturists. This handbook is available in its entirety via the following link here. The NCCAOM also announced this exciting in their press release about Acupuncturists Earns Distinction from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

December 7, 2017

The NCCAOM is pleased to report that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Office of Management and Budget has issued a notice that the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC)  final decision have been made, effective November 28, 2017. As a result of the last and final round of revisions, the BLS Occupational Handbook was updated by the Office of Management and Budget and the revisions have added a further definition for “Acupuncturists”  (who will now have an independent Standard of Occupational Code – SOC – 29-1291). We are pleased to report that the new language now specifically excludes Chiropractors as part of the practitioners being tracked under SOC 12-1291. This is how SOC Title Acupuncturists will be defined. The newest update is reflected in red:

29-1291  Acupuncturists Diagnose, treat, and prevent disorders by stimulating specific acupuncture points within the body using acupuncture needles. May also use cups, nutritional supplements, therapeutic massage, acupressure, and other alternative health therapies. Excludes “Chiropractors” (29-1011).

Illustrative examples: Acupuncture Physician, Licensed Acupuncturist

Federal statistical agencies will begin using the 2018 SOC (to include SOC 12-1291 for Acupuncturists) for occupational data they publish for reference years beginning on or after January 1, 2018. The 2018 Standard Occupational Classification system is used by Federal statistical agencies to classify workers into occupational categories for the purpose of collecting, calculating, or disseminating data. All workers are classified into one of 867 detailed occupations according to their occupational definition. To facilitate classification, detailed occupations are combined to form 459 broad occupations, 98 minor groups, and 23 major groups. Detailed occupations in the SOC with similar job duties, and in some cases skills, education, and/or training, are grouped together. You can also review a summary of “What’s New in the 2018 SOC” which now includes Acupuncturists.

The NCCAOM will provide you with additional information as soon as we received them from the BLS to include the on when the 2018 BLS Occupational Handbook is officially available in 2018.

September 15, 2016

U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) stating that “Acupuncturists” now have an independent Standard of Occupational Code (SOC). The new code for Acupuncturists, SOC – 29-1291, will be included in the next edition of the BLS Occupational Handbook, which will be published in 2018. The NCCAOM has developed a list of frequently asked questions, at link below, to provide our Diplomates with information about this recent announcement from the BLS.


August 19, 2016

As an update to our Diplomates and other constituents on the BLS initiative, the NCCAOM is working on a fact sheet with frequently asked questions that will feature additional information about this initiative such as the benefits of having our own Standard Occupational Code. We will also be working collaboratively with other national organizations such as the ASA to ensure that we receive valuable input from the profession. Please look for the fact sheet and any updates regarding the BLS on this page.

July 22, 2016

The NCCAOM is very pleased to announce that on July 22, 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Standard Occupational Code (SOC) Policy Committee (SOCPC) updated the SOC website to include the Federal Register notice (81 FR 48306) published by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announcing the SOCPC’s recommendations to OMB on the 2018 SOC which included the publication in the new independent SOC Acupuncturists: 29-1291.

The SOC Web site also provides SOCPC responses on public comments regarding changes for 2018 that were received as a result of the first Federal Register notice announcing the revision for 2018, published by OMB on May 22, 2014 (79 FR 29620).

The BLS response to the requests for Acupuncturists to have an unique SOC is available in Docket Number 1-0144. The SOCPC accepted NCCAOM’s recommendation for an independent SOC based on the evidence provided that the work performed by Acupuncturists is sufficiently distinct to reliably collect data, as required by Classification Principle 9. The SOCPC therefore recommends establishing a new SOC – 29-1291 Acupuncturists. To see Nationwide Press Release about this important mile stone published on July 26, 2016, click here.

August 28, 2014

The NCCAOM has received confirmation from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that the proposal (comment) to provide “Acupuncturists” with a unique Standard Occupational Classification Code that was submitted to the BLS in response to the May 22, 2014 Federal Register notice announcing the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) revision for 2018 has been assigned docket number 1-0144. NCCAOM has also been notified by the BLS staff that the SOC Policy Committee will review each comment and make recommendations to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) over the next few months. OMB intends to release a second Federal Register notice in 2015 with the proposed 2018 SOC structure. The NCCAOM will be posting further updates as we received them in this timeline.

July 21, 2014

The NCCAOM has officially sent the request to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Standard Occupation Classification Policy Committee (SOCPC)  for Acupuncturists to obtain an independent occupational code. Please see the final submission packet via this link.

The NCCAOM would like to thank all organizational leaders and volunteers who contributed to creation, review and finalization of this final document. In addition, the NCCAOM appreciates receiving all of the support letters that demonstrate collaboration and unity among the AOM professional organizations and supporters for this most important initiative.

The NCCAOM staff will keep you posted on future correspondence as received by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A second Federal Register notice, requesting comments on the SOC recommendations is expected by Spring 2015. If you have any questions, please contact us at [email protected].
Over the past six years, the NCCAOM has been working with AOM community leaders and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to gain recognition for acupuncturists through the BLS Standards of Occupational Classification (SOC) system.

Findings of the BLS

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Standard Occupational Classification Policy Committee (SOCPC) did not accept the AOM professional organizations’ request to add Acupuncturist as a separate detailed occupation to the 2010 SOC. The SOCPC stated:

“The SOCPC did not accept this recommendation, based on Classification Principle 9 which states that for a detailed occupation to be included in the SOC, either the Bureau of Labor Statistics or the Census Bureau must be able to collect and report data on that occupation. Based on the information received, neither agency was able to determine it would be able to collect and report data for Acupuncturists. Acupuncture is practiced widely by healthcare providers in more than one SOC occupation.”

For more details please see the fulll response here

The OMB and SOCPC, also, did not accept the request by the AOM national organizations to add “Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Practitioner”. They stated that “Oriental medicine” is not uniformly defined as a field, and aspects of Oriental medicine are practiced widely by other healthcare providers in more than one SOC occupation. The SOCPC’s rationale for this decision is available here.

Clarification for Acupuncturists

Gearing Up for Acupuncturists Gaining an Independent Occupational Code with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Click here for more information