What is the First Professional Doctorate (DACM)?

The Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM) is a new first professional doctoral degree in the field of acupuncture and Oriental medicine (AOM). Graduates of the program will be qualified to take the national certification and California acupuncture licensing exams, just as graduates of the master’s program. DACM students will graduate at the doctoral level with enhanced training and skills over the current masters level training.

What is the accreditation approval status for ACTCM’s first professional doctorate (DACM)?

ACTCM’s DACM was the first FPD program approved by ACAOM (Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine) in November 2014. The program was also approved by WASC with the completion of the ACTCM merger with California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) on July 1, 2015.

Will financial aid be available to students enrolling in the DACM program?

The California Institute of Integral Studies is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges – Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). Students admitted to the DACM program are eligible for federal grant and loan programs through our WSCUC accreditation.

How is it different from the MSTCM degree?

The DACM degree will differ from the MSTCM degree in the number of hours of class and clinical work necessary to complete the degree, as well as differences in the curriculum. The DACM degree is a first professional degree at the doctoral level; the curriculum expands upon that of the MSTCM degree. 

How is it different from the DAOM degree?

The DAOM degree is an advanced postgraduate degree for licensed acupuncturists.  The DACM degree is a first professional degree allowing graduates to sit for the national and California licensure exams. While the DACM expands knowledge in integrative medicine, the DAOM program expands education through diversified externships, capstone projects, and case studies and enables acupuncturists to specialize in TCM Pain Management or TCM Gynecology.

Will the DACM replace the MSTCM degree?

No. The MSTCM degree and the DACM degree will provide two different paths for pursuing a first professional degree and licensure as an acupuncturist.

Will the DACM graduates receive a different license than those who graduate from the MSTCM program?

No. The license to practice acupuncture is the same for graduates of both the MSTCM and DACM programs.

Can I transfer into the DACM program as a current Master’s student?

Transferring students are required by ACAOM to complete at least two years as a matriculated student in first professional doctoral degree program. For questions about transferring into the DACM program, please contact our Admissions office or check out our transfer policy.

Can I get a doctorate degree if I have nearly completed my master’s degree?

If you are a current student in a master’s degree program in Chinese medicine and have completed nearly 50% or more of your master’s program, you should complete your master’s program. You can then enroll in ACTCM’s postgraduate doctoral program (DAOM) to get your doctorate degree while you practice. Upon completion of your MSTCM, you will be eligible to get your license in acupuncture while earning a doctorate in the DAOM degree program. If you have completed less than two years of training in the MSTCM then transferring into the program may be an option for you. Please contact the Admissions office for details.

What is the resident requirement for first professional doctorate degree from ACAOM standard?

The Accreditation Standard for the First Professional Doctorate in Acupuncture and/or Oriental Medicine from ACAOM states: “The FPD program must ensure that transfer (or ‘advanced standing’) students take at least two academic years in residence before receiving the FPD degree.” This means that if you have less than two years remaining in your first professional degree program and transfer into the first professional doctorate you may be required to repeat curriculum that you had previously covered in your masters program.

I understand that the DACM is approved by but not yet accredited by ACAOM. Will the DACM be in candidacy or accredited before I am ready to take the national examinations?

Because the DACM program includes all the competencies in the current MSTCM degree, we are able to confer an articulated DACM-MSTCM degree. Students graduating with the DACM also receive the MSTCM at graduation. Both the California Acupuncture Board and the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) recognize the current MSTCM degree. By receiving an articulated degree, you will be able to sit for the NCCAOM exam modules and apply for licensure in a state that does not yet recognized the first professional doctorate.

Since DACM is a new degree, how can I be assured I can practice in any state?

In order to ensure that DACM graduates will be eligible to practice throughout the country, including states that do not yet recognize the first professional doctoral degree, students will receive an articulated degree. This means that they will be conferred both the DACM and a Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine (MSTCM) degree concurrently at graduation after completing the degree requirements for the DACM.

Can I receive the MSTCM degree ‘on the way’ to the DACM?

No. For students in the DACM program, these two degrees, DACM and MSTCM are conferred only when all requirements for both degrees are completed. Should you decide to work toward a MSTCM degree only, you will need to transfer to the DACM program.

How can I find out more information about the DACM?

Ask us! Email ACTCMadmissions@ciis.edu, call 415-401-0464, or request more information.

Where can I find out more information about the CIIS-ACTCM Merger?

Learn about the merger in Acupuncture Today’s story Merger Creates New Model of Care

Where can I learn more about the accreditation?
The California Institute of Integral Studies is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges – Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), 985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501 (510-748-9001). The Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine (MSTCM) and Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM) programs of ACTCM at CIIS are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM), 8941 Aztec Drive, Eden Prairie, MN 55347 (952-212-2434), which is the recognized accrediting agency for programs preparing acupuncture and Oriental medicine practitioners. The DACM program has been approved through ACAOM Substantive Change and is eligible for accreditation by ACAOM and CIIS is currently in the process of seeking ACAOM candidacy/accreditation for the program. However, CIIS can provide no assurance that candidacy or accreditation will be granted by ACAOM.

DACM Additional Information

DACM is different from the current master’s degree.

  1. Integrative medicine is woven throughout the program, training professionals to meet the needs of patient centered care in multi-modality providing institutions. Information on systems-based medicine, providing culturally sensitive care and collaborative care are important additions to the curriculum.
  2. Information literacy and skills in critical evaluation of scholarly literature are part of a program to develop DACM graduates as life-long learners.
  3. The DACM program includes work in the areas of evidence-based medicine and evidence informed practice.
  4. The DACM program includes enhanced practice management skill sets.
  5. The ACAOM DACM standards include the following.
  6. A total of 54 professional competencies at the core master’s level;
  7. A total of 28 professional competencies at the advanced doctoral level.
  8. The DACM standard meets the requirements of the California Acupuncture Board, qualifying successful candidates for the California acupuncture licensing exam.

DACM is different from the DAOM program.

  1. The DACM is a first professional doctorate program intended to be a first professional degree allowing the graduate to sit for the NCCAOM and CAB exams. The DACM includes basic curriculum and is intended for the appropriately qualified candidate with no prior training in acupuncture and/or Chinese medicine.
  2. The ACTCM Doctorate in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM) is a post-masters clinical doctoral program that focuses on the clinical specializations in TCM Pain Management and TCM Gynecology. The DAOM program is intended for those candidates who already have a master’s degree in Oriental medicine or licensed practitioners with at least 10 years of experience.

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