Diplomate of Acupuncture

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Melissa Smith, Dipl. O.M. (NCCAOM)

Acupuncture is one of the essential elements of Oriental medicine and the oldest, most commonly used medical procedure in the world.

What is a Diplomate of Acupuncture?   ▼   (Click to Read)

A Diplomate of Acupuncture is an acupuncturist who is certified by the NCCAOM. It is a considerable professional achievement to earn the designation Diplomate of Acupuncture (NCCAOM). NCCAOM certification indicates to employers, patients, and peers that one has met national standards for the safe and competent practice of acupuncture as defined by the acupuncture and Oriental medicine (AOM) profession. National board certification in acupuncture has been the mark of excellence in AOM since the inception of the Commission in 1982. Every certified NCCAOM Diplomate must abide by the NCCAOM® Code of Ethics.

What training does an NCCAOM Diplomate of Acupuncture have?   ▼   

Comprehensive training in traditional differential diagnosis and proper treatment methods requires that a Diplomate of Acupuncture (NCCAOM) completes three to four academic years of education at the master’s degree level in an acupuncture program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM). ACAOM is the only accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education as the authority for quality education and training in acupuncture and Oriental medicine. In addition to graduation from an ACAOM accredited program, a Diplomate of Acupuncture (NCCAOM) must demonstrate professional competency by passing NCCAOM certification examinations in Foundations of Oriental Medicine, Acupuncture, and Biomedicine.

What is the difference between a Diplomate of Acupuncture and other healthcare practitioners who practice acupuncture?   ▼

The Diplomate of Acupuncture (NCCAOM) training and competency verification is in sharp contrast to the acupuncture training of other healthcare professionals such as chiropractors or registered nurses or even medical doctors who typically receive 100-300 hours of abbreviated training. These other healthcare professionals only treat a limited number of points. NCCAOM certified acupuncturists are also trained in standard medical history gathering, safety, and ethics, and recognition of when to refer patients to other health care professionals or consult with other medical practitioners.

How do I find a qualified acupuncturist?   ▼

You can find a Diplomate of Acupuncture (NCCAOM) or a Diplomate holding one or more other NCCAOM certifications by going to the NCCAOM® Find a Practitioner Directory.

The additional designation of licensed acupuncturist (L.Ac.) is awarded by a state regulatory board. Currently, 43 states, including the District of Columbia, require NCCAOM certification or the passing of the NCCAOM examinations as a requirement for licensure to practice acupuncture. Each state board has a unique set of requirements for licensure. State rules and regulations are subject to change; therefore, one should always confirm current requirements for licensure with the appropriate state board.

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