NCCAOM School News Brief: January 2024

In This Issue:

NCCAOM Program Performance Reports

The full-year 2023 NCCAOM® Program Performance Reports, which contain student exam data from January 1, 2023, through December 31, 2023, is now available. The online NCCAOM® Program Performance Report Order Form can be accessed here. After you enter your information, click the green ‘Submit’ button at the bottom of the page. The NCCAOM Customer Service Team member will notify you when your invoice is ready to be paid.

Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.

School Liaison Webinar

Join the NCCAOM for the NCCAOM School Liaison Webinar scheduled for February 7, 2024, at 4:00 pm EST.

During this informative webinar, we will provide:

  • Update on the state of the Profession
  • Update on the NCCAOM Job Analysis
  • Update on the 2024 School Program Performance Reports (PPR)
  • NCCAOM online certification application and examination processes

Register Here

NCCAOM Official Pass/Fail Notification Letters

Candidates no longer need to wait for the U.S. Postal Service to deliver the official Exam Score notification letter!! A candidate’s official NCCAOM Examination Official Pass/Fail Notification Letter is now uploaded in the Candidate’s/Diplomate’s online portal within 7 to 10 days after the exam date.

As you are aware upon completion of the adaptive examination, the computer at the testing center will display a preliminary pass/fail exam status. The candidate is asked to acknowledge that this is a preliminary notification.

NCCAOM Virtual Teleconference for Graduating Students

NCCAOM provides a customized virtual presentation for graduating students. NCCAOM representative will share details and insights on every step of the board-examination process including tips and tricks for exam preparation.

To request your virtual presentation, please contact us at [email protected].

The candidate is asked to acknowledge that this is a preliminary notification. The official NCCAOM PASS result letter does not display a numerical score; however, the FAIL exam result letter provides a numerical scaled score and a breakdown of sections indicating areas of weakness. Candidates will now be able to track, in their online certification account, the official results for their most recent examination completed within two weeks of having finished the exam.

NCCAOM Certification vs. State License

Over the years, there has been some confusion about the role of the NCCAOM and a state licensing board as credentialing organizations. The NCCAOM is a national certification organization that validates entry-level competency in the practice of acupuncture and herbal medicine through professional certification.

State licensure is the process whereby a government (state or regional) grants an individual permission to pursue an occupation and/or operate a business. NCCAOM certification or a passing score on the NCCAOM certification examinations are pre-requisite for licensure as an acupuncturist by 46 states plus the District of Columbia. State licensing is regulated by the state in which a Diplomate practices and varies greatly from state to state as some states require that applicants for licensure send their NCCAOM exam results, while other states require full NCCAOM certification. It is the responsibility of the applicant to check all prerequisites for state licensure.

It is important to note that NCCAOM certification does not award licensure, nor does it guarantee the ability to acquire a license to practice acupuncture or herbal medicine.

In the United States, licensure laws vary among the 47 states that regulate acupuncture and herbal medicine. To obtain information about state licensure requirements in a particular state, a candidate or Diplomate must contact each state in which they are seeking licensure to practice acupuncture and verify state requirements. NCCAOM certification and state license are two separate credentials and have to be obtained and maintained separately. Candidates may access the NCCAOM interactive map here and highlight or click on the state they are interested in obtaining a state license in:

  • Once highlighted, each state will display NCCAOM Certification/exams required in the state.
  • Once clicked upon state, the candidate and Diplomate will be re-directed to the state acupuncture regulatory agency website for complete list of requirements for state licensure.

Student Webinar:
May 29, 2024

Join us for the NCCAOM Student Webinar scheduled for May 29, 2024, at 4:00 pm EDT. You will learn the details about:

  • Board examination process, the Dos and Don’ts with exam scheduling.
  • The exam score verification to state licensing boards and explore the interactive map for state licensure.
  • Learn the benefits of being an NCCAOM Diplomate.

Stay tuned for a separate announcement for the NCCAOM Student Webinar.

NCCAOM Examination Reschedule/Cancellation


An exam should only be scheduled when the candidate is ready to sit and take the exam.

All NCCAOM candidates receive three (3) free cancellation/rescheduling exam attempts for each of their exam attempts when they submit an application for NCCAOM certification. After the third (free) cancellation/reschedule, the candidate is no longer able to cancel/reschedule an examination and must appear for the exam on the day and time the exam has been re-scheduled; otherwise, the exam appointment will go into “No Show”, and the candidate will forfeit the testing fee paid.

To continue testing after a third (free) cancellation/rescheduling attempt, the candidate must fill out the NCCAOM Request Form to receive a new authorization (ATT Letter) at which time the candidate will be charged a $63 rescheduling fee. The candidate will receive three additional attempts to cancel/reschedule with the new authorization. The new authorization allows candidates to schedule their exam(s) and pay the testing fee at the time of scheduling.

Please note that Pearson VUE is a third-party vendor providing test administration services to a multitude of different organizations across the globe, including NCCAOM. Per Pearson VUE payment processor policy, scheduled exams must be taken within two (2) years of the exam payment date. If the exam is not taken within two (2) years of the payment date, the Candidate must cancel the exam appointment and schedule a new exam.

NCCAOM Certification Application Validity Time

All students graduating from an ACAHM-approved school can apply for the NCCAOM certification 60 days before their graduation date. These 60 days provide applicants with an opportunity to satisfy documentation requirements for NCCAOM certification and test approval. Students must request a verification of the school’s final graduation transcript from their school and a verification of the Clean Needle Technique (CNT) certificate from Council of Colleges for Acupuncture and herbal Medicine (CCAHM). Verification of both documents must be provided by the issuing institution directly to the NCCAOM.

Once the final graduation transcript and CNT certificate have been received and approved by the NCCAOM staff, the applicant is approved to take national board exams. Applicant must pass all exams required for the NCCAOM certification of their choice:

Acupuncture Certification requires an applicant to pass:

  • Foundation of Oriental Medicine Exam
  • Acupuncture with Point Location Exam
  • Biomedicine Exam

Chinese Herbology Certification requires an applicant to pass:

  • Foundations of Oriental Medicine Exam
  • Chinese Herbology exam
  • Biomedicine Exam

Oriental Medicine Certification requires applicant to pass:

  • Foundations of Oriental Medicine Exam
  • Acupuncture with Point Location Exam
  • Chinese Herbology exam
  • Biomedicine Exam

Application for NCCAOM certification is valid for four (4) years from the application submission date. All requirements (documentation and exams) must be met within the 4-years application validity time. If requirements are not completed, the application expires, and the applicant must re-apply to satisfy outstanding requirements. If certification is not achieved, NCCAOM exams passed by the candidate are valid for 12 years from the date they were taken, and the Clean Needle Technique (CNT) course is valid for 6 years from the date it was completed.

The NCCAOM encourages all students to achieve NCCAOM certification and keep it active for the length of their professional careers.

Applicant Fees

Security and protection of confidential information of its Diplomates and candidates is of vital importance to the NCCAOM. Visa, Master Card, and now American Express payments may be submitted through the online application process and exam scheduling fees.

All applicant fees are available in the Applicant Resources section of the NCCAOM website.

Taking NCCAOM Board-Exams

Examinations indicated in an applicant’s NCCAOM® Authorization to Test Letter may be scheduled and taken in any order at the applicant’s convenience. However, all exams must be completed within 4 years of the application period.

Exam Preparation Tips

  1. Prep over time – do not cram! Set a realistic timeline and break it down into different sections to study that follow the NCCAOM Exam Content Outlines.
  2. Make your study aids – It’s always nice to have flashcards and notes passed down from the graduated class. However, studies have shown the importance of actively taking notes rather than passively reading a handout. By actively writing down the notes, this action engages the brain to assist with long-term information retention.
  3. Know your learning style – There are four main types of learning in education: Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, and Reading/Writing. However, more types are emerging with new research that are based on the senses and social aspect: logical/analytical learners, social linguistic learners, solitary learners, and nature learners.
  4. Draw your conclusions – One of the most important things is to be able to make connections. This is what makes the test questions complex as it is not only pure memorization but also for the students to be able to formulate their connections. For instance, why does this syndrome relate to a specific treatment? What are the theories behind the treatment? How is this treatment unique/different from other syndromes that have similar symptoms?
  5. NCCAOM Exam Preparation Center
    1. Content Outlines
    2. NCCAOM Practice Tests
  6. Other Study Resources (available in the market today) – The NCCAOM does not endorse, nor is affiliated with any other exam preparation or study guides.

Exam Taking Tips

  1. Recognize Question Types – is this something straightforward or does it look complicated? If the questions are long, pick out which are the distractors and leave only the important keywords to work with.
  2. Formulate a plan of attack. Come up with your process of elimination. This is super important because everyone’s logic is different – be sure to create a thought process that is unique to you so that you can differentiate the distractors from the correct answer.
  3. Drawing blanks – It is completely normal to draw a blank during the exam – there’s no way that anyone can recall everything that comes across during their studies. If this happens, relax, take a deep breath, and start picking up whatever keywords that look familiar. This is where the reverse study process comes in: use those keywords and retrieve the connections between them, then use these connections to choose the best answer choice.

Study Group

We hope you enjoyed this edition of the
News Brief!