I am a certified Diplomate of Oriental Medicine. This means that I hold dual national certifications as a Diplomate of Acupuncture and a Diplomate of Chinese Herbology from the National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). These are the highest levels of national certification for the profession of acupuncture and herbology available.
A Diplomate of Chinese Herbology is a practitioner who is certified by the NCCAOM®. It is a considerable professional achievement to earn the designation Diplomate of Chinese Herbology (NCCAOM®). NCCAOM certification indicates to employers, patients, and peers that one has met national standards for the safe and competent practice of Chinese herbology as defined by the acupuncture and Oriental medicine (AOM) profession. National board certification in Chinese herbology has been the mark of excellence in AOM since the Chinese Herbology Certification Program was introduced in 1996. Every certified NCCAOM Diplomate must abide by the NCCAOM® Code of Ethics.
Comprehensive training in traditional differential diagnosis and proper treatment methods requires that a Diplomate of Chinese Herbology (NCCAOM) completes three to four academic years of education at the master’s degree level in an Oriental Medicine or Chinese Herbology Program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM). ACAOM is the only accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education as the authority for quality education and training in acupuncture and Oriental medicine. In addition to graduation from an ACAOM accredited program, a Diplomate of Chinese Herbology (NCCAOM) must demonstrate professional competency by passing NCCAOM certification examinations in Foundations of Oriental Medicine, Chinese Herbology, and Biomedicine.
What is the difference between a Diplomate of Chinese Herbology and other healthcare practitioners who practice herbs?
Generally, the NCCAOM Diplomate training and competency verification is in sharp contrast to the acupuncture and Oriental medicine training of other healthcare professionals such as chiropractors or registered nurses or even medical doctors who typically receive 100-300 hours of abbreviated training. Certified (and licensed) acupuncturists and Oriental medicine practitioners are also trained in standard medical history gathering, safety, and ethics, and recognition of when to refer patients to other healthcare professionals or consult with other medical practitioners.
What is the difference in purchasing herbs directly from a vendor versus getting herbs prescribed by a Diplomate of Chinese Herbology?
It is very important that consumers are aware of the risks associated with purchasing herbs directly from vendors without seeking the advice of a qualified Chinese herbology practitioner, such as a Diplomate of Chinese Herbology. These risks can include adverse drug interaction when using herbs without consultation and the potential of receiving inferior herbs from vendors. Diplomates of Chinese Herbology and Oriental Medicine have completed extensive training that would prevent the issues addressed above from occurring. By seeking an NCCAOM Certified Diplomate of Chinese Herbology or Oriental Medicine for herbal treatment, consumers recognize the significance of NCCAOM Certification in Chinese Herbology and Oriental Medicine as an indication of competence and safety for the practice of Chinese herbology. NCCAOM certified practitioners have met the necessary educational requirements and have also passed a rigorous assessment to practice Chinese herbology safely and efficaciously.