Public Comment: Proposed Comprehensive Revision of ACAOM Accreditation Standards and Criteria

Master's Degree/Master's Level and Professional Doctorate [PD] Standards

The Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (“ACAOM” or “Commission”) has the authority to establish and promulgate criteria and rubrics for the evaluation and accreditation of acupuncture and Oriental medicine institutions and programs. These take the form of accreditation standards and criteria, as well as various policies and procedures.  ACAOM uses these standards as assessment measures to help ensure that institutions/programs pursuing and maintaining ACAOM accreditation meet acceptable levels of quality.

As required by the U.S. Department of Education, ACAOM maintains a systematic program of review that demonstrates that its standards are adequate to evaluate the quality of the education or training provided by the institutions and programs it accredits and relevant to the educational or training needs of students.

In 2013, the Commission adopted accreditation standards for professional doctorate (PD) programs which were formatted in a different fashion than standards for the master’s-level and postgraduate doctoral (DAOM) programs. The Commission convened a task force of content matter experts in 2015 to perform a comprehensive revision of the master’s-level accreditation standards utilizing relevant components of the PD standards as an initial draft. In 2016, the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (“CCAOM”) was involved in the review and afforded a meaningful opportunity to provide input. Throughout 2017, the Commission considered input received and further revised the standards. Given the close relationship between the master’s-level standards and the PD standards, the Commission united the two sets of standards into one document.

As ACAOM accredits and pre-accredits programs, as well as freestanding institutions, the accreditation standards and criteria document describes institutional components and programmatic components for each criterion, as applicable. Some programmatic components apply to all programs (master’s-level and PD), others solely to master’s-level programs, and others solely to professional doctorate programs.

The postgraduate doctorate [DAOM] was not included in this revision process and is not addressed in this set of standards and criteria.

Before finalizing any changes to its standards, ACAOM must provide notice to all of the agency’s relevant constituencies, and other parties who have made their interest known to the agency, of the changes the agency proposes to make; give the constituencies and other interested parties adequate opportunity to comment on the proposed changes; and take into account any comments on the proposed changes submitted timely by the relevant constituencies and by other interested parties.

Persons, institutions and organizations with an interest in the Commission’s accreditation standards and policies are invited to comment on the revised accreditation standards and criteria.


The full revised standards and criteria document may be accessed at: https://acahm.org/public-comment-proposed-comprehensive-revision-of-acaom-accreditation-standards-and-criteria/

For reference, the current Standards and Criteria are available via the ACAOM website’s Resources page.


Interested persons, institutions, and organizations may provide comments, through one of the three following methods:

  1. Electronically via survey instrument at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RevisedMastersAndPDStandards; or
  2. By electronic mail, in the form of a letter (document attachment is acceptable), sent to info@mikes140.sg-host.com [subject line must include “Public Comment – Revised Standards”]
  3. By surface mail, in the form of a letter, sent to:


8941 Aztec Dr., Suite 2

Eden Prairie, MN 55347

Attn: Public Comment – Revised Standards

Comments must be received no later than 5:00pm US Central Time on Monday, April 2, 2018.  Comments must be limited to the proposed change; comments that do not pertain specifically to the proposed change will not be considered at this time.

A constructive, information-rich comment that clearly communicates and supports its claims is more likely to have an impact on Commission decision making.  There are many resources available on the Internet regarding writing effective public comments, including https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/thought-leadership/taking-the-mystery-out-of-filing-comments-proposed-rules.

The Commission, after considering written comments, may adopt the revised accreditation standards, policies and procedures as proposed, adopt with changes or modifications, defer action until further study and consideration is given, or discard the proposed changes altogether.