What training does an NCCAOM Diplomate of Oriental Medicine have?

Credentials and Educational Requirements

A Diplomate of Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) has completed four academic years of education at the master’s degree level in an acupuncture and Chinese herbology program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM). 

The scope of training includes acupuncture, herbal medicine, Asian Bodywork Therapy and Chinese Medicine Nutrition.  

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 and Point Location, Chinese Herbology, and Biomedicine. 

The Diplomate of Oriental Medicine will have 3,000 hours of training in Chinese Medicine, including acupuncture, which is in contrast to chiropractors, registered nurses, medical doctors and physical therapists who typically receive 100-300 of training in acupuncture only.  

How widely is Oriental medicine being used in the U.S.?

In the United States, the use of Oriental medicine is gaining widespread acceptance, with more than 22,000 certified and/or licensed practitioners.

Are Oriental medicine and other complementary and alternative medicine programs being used in hospitals as well?

The 2007 American Hospital Association’s Health Forum Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Survey of Hospitals found that 35 percent of the hospitals offering CAM provide acupuncture as an outpatient service to their patients. Additionally, acupuncture is represented as one of the top six modalities in both outpatient and inpatient settings amongst those hospitals.

The additional designation of licensed acupuncturist (L.Ac.) is awarded by a state regulatory board. The NCCAOM website provides a table with state regulatory requirements and contact information. Currently, 44 states, plus the District of Columbia, require NCCAOM certification or the passing of the NCCAOM examination(s) as a requirement for licensure to practice 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. More information on state requirements is available at www.nccaom.org.


  1. Traditional Medicine – Growing Needs and Potential, World Health Organization Policy Perspective on Medicines; #1 May 2002; World Health Organization, Geneva.

Health Forum 2007 Complementary and Alternative Medicine Survey of Hospitals Summary of Results: August 2008: Chicago, Illinois.

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