This process allows for the inclusion of newly emerging practices to potentially be included on the examination, as well as the removal of outdated practices. Periodic JA studies ensures the continued validity of content, and help programs avoid becoming out of line with current day-to-day practice. The survey is sent to licensed acupuncturists throughout the United States. Based on the results of the JA survey, changes are indicated and made to the newly created content outline(s) and dictates what type of questions are to be written. This is to ensure that the NCCAOM examination modules reflect ongoing changes that occur in nationwide practice (i.e., common knowledge, national laws, OSHA, HIPAA, GMP practices, scope of practice, etc.).
Beginning in November 2016, the NCCAOM undertook their most recent full-scale nationally conducted Job Analysis study, creating four individual surveys of the knowledge elements required for competent, entry-level practice; one for each of the four certification exams offered by NCCAOM. The results of these surveys provide support for the ongoing relevance, validity, and legal defensibility of the NCCAOM national examination programs, establishing the link between what acupuncturists do on-the-job and the content of the NCCAOM® Foundations of Oriental Medicine (FOM), Biomedicine (BIO), Acupuncture with Point Location (ACPL), and Chinese Herbology (CH) examinations.
The surveys were developed based on results from a comprehensive literature review of the professional role of acupuncturists (e.g., curricula for training programs, and job descriptions), phone interviews of practicing licensed acupuncturists, and feedback from a panel of subject matter experts (SMEs). The members of the Job Analysis (JA) Panel were NCCAOM Diplomates and licensed acupuncturists recruited by NCCAOM leadership to represent national diversity of practice, experience, geographic location, education, ethnic backgrounds, and high-level professional expertise.
Invitations to complete this national survey, as well as reminders, were sent via email to all known licensed acupuncturists and NCCAOM constituent groups, numbering approximately 33,000 practitioners. During that time, the survey was advertised via social media and in an article published in the July 2017 edition of Acupuncture Today. There were 3,285 unique logins to the survey, representing a response rate of approximately 10%, which is excellent for an unsolicited online survey. Over 95% of respondents indicated that the survey either completely or adequately described the critical knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) required for nationally competent, entry-level practice as an acupuncturist. This supports a high degree of confidence that the depth and breadth of the survey content was reflective of practice across geographic settings and among various work-practice settings.
A second JA Panel meeting was held to consider and review the results of the survey data analyses, and to finalize the new content outlines for the NCCAOM® Foundations of Oriental Medicine (FOM), Biomedicine (BIO), Acupuncture with Point Location (ACPL), and Chinese Herbology (CH) examinations.