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Korean Medicine System


Korean medicine doctors were recognized by Korean legislature as fully licensed medical professionals in 1952, and continue to serve public health at community level as primary care physicians.

Pre-doctorial Medical education

The Republic of Korea employs a dual Korean medicine education course with a 6-year undergraduate course consisting of a 2-year pre-med + 4-year medical school system currently adopted by 11 private universities where students are required to take an average 6,302 hours of education to qualify for graduation, and a specialized 4-year postgraduate course operated by Pusan National University (comprising a 4-year undergraduate + 4-year postgraduate course) where postgraduates are required to complete 4,580 hours of education courses to graduate and apply for the national licensing examination for Korean medicine doctors.


Licensing of Korean medicine doctors is managed by the Korea Health Personnel Licensing Examination Institute, and approximately 760+ Korean medicine doctors are newly licensed annually from undergraduate and postgraduate Korean medicine university course graduates.

Graduate Medical Education

Korean medicine specialists undergo graduate medical education (GME) consisting of 1 year of internship + 3 years of residency where Korean medicine doctors receive medical specialty training. There are currently 8 Korean medicine specialties.

Scope of practice

Korean medicine doctors are acknowledged as medical practitioners holding full practice rights by Korean <Medical law>, and a considerable percentage of acupuncture and moxibustion is included and reimbursed in Korean national health insurance and by private insurance companies. While certain sectors of medicine such as surgical intervention and use of conventional medication and diagnostic devices have been precluded from Korean medicine doctors as off-limits regarding license and partially infringing upon sole practice rights, Korean medicine doctors continue to reform the education process and curriculum to the aim of ensuring unrestricted medical practice.


Acupuncture is currently covered by Korean national health insurance, and Chuna manipulation is scheduled for inclusion in Korean national health insurance as of 2018, further improving patient accessibility to a treatment modality hitherto paid entirely out-of-pocket.