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Chinese Medicine Degree

What academic awards do Traditional Chinese Medicine programs grant?

Students that graduate from a Traditional Chinese Medicine-related program often earn a diploma, certificate, or degree either in TCM or an area of specialization thereof. Although a diploma or certificate may be satisfactory for some TCM professions, all practitioners (especially acupuncturists) are encouraged to earn a master's or doctorate degree to ensure professional competency and a high level of quality care for patients. Those that are interested in starting their education by earning a certificate or diploma will find the most popular specialty options available include: Certificate in Qi Gong, Certificate in Acupuncture, Certificate in Herbal Medicine, Certificate in Tui Na Massage Therapy, Diploma of Oriental Medicine, and Diploma of Acupuncture.

On the other hand, students that prefer to complete a bachelor's or master's degree in TCM may earn one of the following degrees: Bachelor of Applied Science in Chinese Medicine, Professional Master's Level Acupuncture, Master of Acupuncture (MAc), Master of Oriental Medicine, Master of Acupuncture in Classical-Five Element Acupuncture, Master of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, Master of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Master of Science in Acupuncture, Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine (MSTCM), and Master of Science in Oriental Medicine (MSMO).

Students of Chinese medicine schools and professionals that already hold a master's degree and have several years of work experience can illustrate and promote occupational excellence by eventually earning a doctorate degree in TCM such as a Doctorate in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAMO).

What education and training in Traditional Chinese Medicine is required to get nationally certified in the field?

The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) is the principle organization for certifying TCM professionals practicing in the United States. Currently, the NCCAOM offers certifications in acupuncture, Chinese herbology, oriental medicine, and Asian bodywork therapy. Those that become certified are officially considered "nationally board certified" NCCAOM Diplomates in their specialty.

In terms of formal education, the NCCAOM only recognized programs that have been accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM). Education and clinical training requirements for each Traditional Chinese Medicine certification vary between specialties. For example, professionals seeking acupuncture certification must complete at least 1,490 hours of formal education and training in acupuncture with point location, biomedicine, and foundations of oriental medicine. In additional, all acupuncturists must also complete a clean needle technique (CNT) course. However, those that want certification in Chinese herbology need to complete a minimum of 1,490 hours in foundations of oriental medicine and biomedicine with another 2,050 hours in Chinese herbology. Practitioners preparing for oriental medicine certification are required to have 1,490 hours of education in foundations of oriental medicine, acupuncture with point location, and biomedicine along with 2,050 hours in Chinese herbology. Finally, to obtain Asian bodywork therapy certification, students need to complete a program containing at least 500 hours of combined clinical training and education in Asian bodywork with courses in allopathic anatomy, physiology, and Oriental medical theory, First Aid, CPR, and ethics.

In all specialties, apprenticeships may compensate for lack of formal instruction in some subjects. After eligibility requirements have been fulfilled, the NCCAOM will administer certification examinations according to specific practice. Once examination has been passed, certification is granted. Recertification is required every four years by completing sixty Professional Development Activity (PDA) points. These PDA points can be acquired through several different channels including: additional NCCAOM certifications, serving on a professional board, passing NCCAOM biomedicine examination, donating acupuncture and oriental medicine services, item writing, clinical supervision and experience, research projects, peer-reviewed posters and exhibits, authoring literary publications (books, professional journals, articles), teaching and lecturing, and advocating legislature.

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