Dipl. O.M. (NCCAOM)
Diplomate of Oriental Medicine
Oriental medicine, which includes the practice of acupuncture, Chinese herbology and Asian bodywork therapy, is a comprehensive health care system encompassing a variety of traditional health care therapies that have been used for more than 3,000 years to diagnose and treat illness, prevent disease and improve well-being.
A Diplomate of Oriental Medicine is a practitioner who is certified by the NCCAOM. It is a considerable professional achievement to earn the designation Diplomate of Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM®). NCCAOM certification indicates to employers, patients, and peers that one has met national standards for the safe and competent practice of acupuncture and Chinese herbology as defined by the acupuncture and Oriental medicine (AOM) profession. National board certification in Oriental medicine has been the mark of excellence in AOM since the inception of the Oriental Medicine Certification Program in 2003. Every certified NCCAOM Diplomate must abide by the NCCAOM® Code of Ethics.
Comprehensive training in traditional differential diagnosis and proper treatment methods requires that a Diplomate of Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) completes three to four academic years of education at the master’s degree level in an Oriental Medicine 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 Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) must demonstrate professional competency by passing NCCAOM certification examinations in Foundations of Oriental Medicine, Acupuncture with Point Location, Chinese Herbology, and Biomedicine.
What is the difference between a Diplomate of Oriental Medicine and other healthcare practitioners who practice acupuncture and/or herbs? ▼
Generally, the NCCAOM Diplomate training and competency verification is in sharp contrast to the acupuncture and Oriental medicine training of other healthcare professionals such as chiropractors or registered nurses or even medical doctors who typically receive 100-300 hours of abbreviated training. In addition, other healthcare professionals who study acupuncture are not trained or assessed to practice Chinese herbal medicine. Certified (and licensed) acupuncturists and Oriental medicine practitioners are also trained in standard medical history gathering, safety, and ethics, and recognition of when to refer patients to other healthcare professionals or consult with other medical practitioners.
What is the difference in purchasing herbs directly from a vendor versus getting herbs prescribed by a Diplomate of Oriental Medicine? ▼
It is very important that consumers are aware of the risks associated with purchasing herbs directly from vendors without seeking the advice of a qualified Chinese herbology practitioner, such as a Diplomate of Oriental Medicine. These risks can include adverse drug interaction when using herbs without consultation and the potential of receiving inferior herbs from vendors. Diplomates of Oriental Medicine and Chinese Herbology have completed extensive training that would prevent the issues addressed above from occurring. By seeking an NCCAOM Certified Diplomate of Oriental Medicine or Chinese Herbology for herbal treatment, consumers recognize the significance of NCCAOM Certification in Oriental and Medicine Chinese Herbology as an indication of competence and safety for the practice of Chinese herbology. NCCAOM certified practitioners have met the necessary educational requirements and have also passed a rigorous assessment to practice acupuncture and Chinese herbology safely and efficaciously.
You can find a Diplomate of Oriental Medicine (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 and Oriental medicine. 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.