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ACHS FAQ :: The Law Relating To Unlicensed Complementary and Alternative Modality Providers (UCAMPs)


The Law Relating To Unlicensed Complementary and Alternative Modality Providers (UCAMPs)

The Law Relating To UCAMPs (Unlicensed Complementary Alternative Medicine Professionals)

Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only and does not replace the need for legal advice. State laws vary greatly and change often. If you have a specific question about the laws in your state, check with your state or seek the advice of your attorney or state representative. Note, as legislation is subject to change, this information, while updated annually may not be the most up to date information available. We always recommend that you check with your state representative for legislation in your state. 

CAM Healthcare Workforce
  • The CAM healthcare workforce includes both licensed and unlicensed professions
  • Individual states in the U.S. have the authority to regulate and define healthcare professions

Career Options

Some CAM professions are licensable in some or all states. ACHS programs prepare graduates for careers in holistic health, including professional credentialing in some careers, but do not create eligibility for licensed professions at this time.

Careers for Unlicensed Complementary and Alternative Medicine Professionals (UCAMPs)  

ACHS programs prepare graduates for exciting holistic health careers in allied health. ACHS alumni become educators, advisors, business owners, writers and coaches. 

Additional information on the regulation and recognition of select UCAMP job titles is listed below:


ACHS Aromatherapy program graduates are eligible to sit the national examination offered by the Aromatherapy Registration Council (ARC) and earn the designation Registered Aromatherapist (RA). See: www.aromatherapycouncil.org


ACHS Master Herbalist, AAS in CAM, and MS in Herbal Medicine graduates are eligible to apply for professional membership to the American Herbalists Guild (AHG) once they have met the clinical experience requirement. The AHG also offers an optional formal mentorship program to assist graduates to obtain clinical hours. See: http://americanherbalistsguild.com/membership/professional


The International Iridology Practitioners Association (IIPA) has developed education standards for iridologists. ACHS is the only accredited and IIPA-Sanctioned institution that offers iridology consulting training. ACHS Certificate in Iridology Consulting graduates and graduates who have completed the NAT 203, NAT 210, NAT 211, NAT 212, and NAT 306 courses as part of another program are eligible to apply for professional membership to the IIPA. See: www.iridologyassn.org

Health Educator

The health educator credential is available to professionals who have completed a masters-level degree and have considerable work experience. The credential is nationally recognized as a qualification for corporate wellness trainers and consumer educators. A comprehensive graduate-level credentialing process and exam is available to qualified professionals through the professional association National Commission For Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC). ACHS MS graduates, who qualify, may apply for the credential through a portfolio process.

Health/Wellness Coach

The new ACHS AAS Health and Wellness and MS Health and Wellness degrees were designed in part to meet the growing demand for health coaches and health consultants. ACHS curriculum adheres to international standards for coach credentialing, and it is our goal that ACHS graduates who meet all requirements should be able to sit for the International Coaching Federation (ICF) credentialing exam.

Licensed Complementary Professions 

There are licensing laws relating to some complementary alternative medicine (CAM) professions in some states. These professions include chiropractic physicians, naturopathic physicians, massage therapists, osteopathic physicians, and acupuncturists. If you are licensed as an allied healthcare provider, you may be able to adjunct complementary modalities, such as aromatherapy or herbal medicine, to your existing practice. You must check with your licensing board regarding your scope of practice and additional modalities.

At the time of writing (December 2013):

Nutritional Counseling

There is legislation in progress in many states regarding careers that incorporate nutritional counseling. Regulation varies greatly, from the requirement of a Registered Dietician credential and license to Certified Nutritionist exam to no credential required in 26 states. For this reason, it is imperative to track the laws in your state. See: http://nutritionadvocacy.org/  

Each of these states has a path to a nutrition career for graduates of the ACHS MS Nutrition program as of 12/2013. Refer to state laws for details on licensability, exams, registration, insurance billing, and limits on scope of practice. There is great variability, but ACHS MS Holistic Nutrition graduates can work in each of these states.

Arizona Hawaii New Jersey Virginia
Arkansas Idaho North Dakota Washington
California Indiana Oregon Wisconsin
Colorado Kentucky Pennsylvania
Connecticut Massachusetts South Dakota
Georgia Nevada Utah

Laws Relating to Otherwise Unlicensed Complementary and Alternative Healthcare Providers 

Legislation varies from state to state and is subject to amendment. For this reason, it is always important to investigate the laws of the state in which you live and work to keep abreast of proposed changes. We recommend that you get involved in your state. The National Health Freedom Coalition has a listing of the state advocacy groups that can be accessed here: http://www.nationalhealthfreedom.org/state_organizations.html 


It seems like everyone is talking about holistic healthcare these days. The U.S. healthcare system is beginning the process of looking at the impact of complementary and alternative medicine, and incorporating concepts of prevention and natural medicine into the healthcare model. People who are drawn to education and careers in holistic approaches to wellness need to keep themselves informed in a rapidly changing healthcare landscape.

Some Updated Facts

In 2013, nine states have Health Freedom laws, including Minnesota, California, Rhode Island, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Idaho, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico (National Health Freedom Coalition, 2012). You can directly link to the licensing laws here: http://www.nationalhealthfreedom.org/InfoCenter/laws_passed.html

On 6/5/2013, the Alternative Health Care Consumer Protections Act was signed into law in the state of Colorado, making it the ninth state to pass a Health Freedom Law. The bill provides that a person engaging in traditional, cultural, complementary, or alternative healing arts and healthcare treatments, who makes specified written disclosures to a client and who does not engage in specifically prohibited acts, is not violating the practice acts regulating licensed, certified, or registered healthcare professionals. For complete law language, see: http://www.coloradocapitolwatch.com/bill/0/SB13-215/2013/1/

Health Freedom Laws Passed

2013    Colorado Alternative Health Care Consumer Protections Act

2009    New Mexico Enacted the Unlicensed Health Care Practice Act

2008    Arizona Revised Statutes Sections 32-2911 Amended

2005    Louisiana Revised Statutes 20-37 VI-B

2003    Rhode Island Statute 23-75—Unlicensed Health Care Practices

2001    California SB577—California Complementary and Alternative Health Care Practitioners

1999    Minnesota Statute 146A—Minnesota Freedom of Access to Complementary and Alternative Health Care Practitioners

1994    Oklahoma Statute 59-480 (Oklahoma Parameters for Jurisdiction of Physician Licensing Act)—Oklahoma Allopathic and Surgical Licensure and Supervision Act

1976    Idaho 54-1804 (Idaho Exemptions to the Medical Practice Act)—Unlicensed Practice, Penalties and Remedies Relating to Unlicensed Practice

Health Freedom Impact on UCAMPS—For Example:

Minnesota Safe Harbor Exemption Law

In order to educate unlicensed healthcare practitioners about Minnesota’s “Safe Harbor Exemption Law,” which is the Chapter 146A state enacted in 2000 known as the Alternative Health Care Freedom of Access Act, MNHC provides a “practitioner packet” to such practitioners to explain the law and how to comply with it in order to come under its protections. Unlicensed practitioners should call (651) 644-4572 to order a practitioner packet. The packet that is sent out for a modest fee includes a copy of the statute, some discussion of how the law works, and a “Client Bill of Rights” that a practitioner must give out to his/her clients in order to be in compliance with the provisions of Chapter 146A. Most unlicensed practitioners are able to learn about Chapter 146A and how to comply with it without needing to consult a health freedom attorney familiar with the workings of this statute (http://www.minnesotanaturalhealth.org). 

Health Care Law Timeline—Impact of the Affordability Care Act—Obamacare:


  • Health insurance plans must cover more preventive services
  • Medicare covers more wellness and preventive care


  • Insurance companies can’t put annual dollar limits on health coverage
  • Insurance companies can no longer deny anyone health coverage because of a pre-existing condition


Consumer Interest in CAM

  • UCSF Scientists Prove Benefits of Living a Healthy Lifestyle: Spring 2013. Dean Ornish, MD, UCSF clinical professor of medicine and founder of the nonprofit Preventive Medicine Research Institute, teamed up with two insurance companies to compare medical costs for patients with heart disease who chose to adopt a healthy lifestyle instead of receiving a bypass or angioplasty. Mutual of Omaha saved $30,000 per patient in the first year. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield cut overall healthcare costs by 50% in the first year and an additional 20-30% in years two and three. See: http://www.ucsf.edu/news/2013/05/105701/can-wellness-cure


AANP. (2013, August 20). AANP. From American Association of Naturopathic Physicians: http://naturopathic.org/content.asp?pl=16&sl=57&contentid=57

ACA. (n.d.). Retrieved August 20, 2013 from American Chiropractors Association: http://www.acatoday.org/level2_css.cfm?T1ID=15&T2ID=205

CAHCIM. (n.d.). Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine. Retrieved August 20, 2013 from Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine: http://www.imconsortium.org/prod/groups/ahc/@pub/@ahc/@cahcim/documents/asset/ahc_asset_441178.pdf

MacKinnon, M. (2012). Conference: Military willing to explore integrative medicine. The Portland Physician Scribe, 30(12):6-8.

National Health Freedom Coalition. (2012). Health Freedom Laws Passed. Retrieved August 20, 2013 from National Health Freedom Coalition: http://www.nationalhealthfreedom.org/InfoCenter/laws_passed.html

NCCAOM. (n.d.). State Licensure Requirements. Retrieved August 20, 2013 from National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine: http://www.nccaom.org/regulatory-affairs/state-licensure-map

Scott, A. (2013, March 29). Obamacare to cover acupuncture, alternative medicine. (WBTV.Com, Producer, & Raycom News Network) From WBTV.Com: http://www.wmbfnews.com/story/20469152/obamacare-to-cover-acupuncture-alternative-medicine

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Visitor Comments

  1. Comment #1 (Posted by Home Health Care MN )
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  2. Comment #2 (Posted by Home Health Care MN )
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  3. Comment #3 (Posted by Kiki )
    Thanks for posting this. Q: Should the word "Idaho" in the California section instead be a new heading for the laws in the state of Idaho? As is, it looks as if what follows is still related to California law: "The Legislature further finds that these nonmedical complementary and alternative services do not pose a known risk to the health and safety of California residents, and that restricting access to those services due to technical violations of the Medical Practice Act is not warranted. Idaho"
  4. Comment #4 (Posted by Kim )
    I have a website that lists state and national contact information, as well as alerts. You can also join the FYHF Yahoo Groups to be kept informed of important alerts. The website for those who may be interested is: http://fyhf.synthasite.com/ Kim

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Last Updated
12th of December, 2013

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