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The degree requirement for practitioners is called an MSAOM (Master of Science in Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine). This program on average requires 3.5 years of full time study and involves over 1000 hours of training that is overseen by professors who have also worked/are working as practitioners in this field.
Upon completion of this degree, the Texas Medical Board requires all four of the NCCAOM board exams to be passed before a license to practice will be issued. The boards are timed, adaptive, computer based exams with about half of each exam consisting of case study questions. They test the individual on these topics: BioMed (western medicine), Foundations (TCM diagnosis), Acupuncture (and other modalities), and Herb (pharmacology of several hundred herbs & formulas).
Upon passing these, the NCCAOM awards the designation of Diplomat of Oriental Medicine. Then the Texas Medical Board will award the designation of L.Ac. and a license to practice for the qualified practitioners.
Diplomate of Oriental Medicine
A Diplomate of Oriental Medicine is a practitioner who is certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM®) and has met the certification requirements for both acupuncture and Chinese herbology. 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. For additional information, about the Diplomate of Oriental Medicine, please visit the NCCAOM Website.