Degree Title: Doctorate of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM)
Program Length: 11 terms, full-time
Credits: 192 credits
Start Dates: Winter – January, Spring – May, Fall – September
As an acupuncture school in San Diego, the doctorate program represents an evolution of the entry-level master’s degree to include advanced study in evidence-informed practice, biomedical diagnosis, preventative medicine, public health, collaborative case management, current healthcare systems, and practice-based learning. Foundational courses continue to present the fascinating world of oriental medicine:
- The broad range of theoretical paradigms;
- Meridian theory, point location and function;
- Acupuncture therapy, including moxibustion and gua sha;
- Body therapy, including tui na;
- Exercise therapy, including taiji and qigong;
- Chinese herbal medicine;
- Basic and clinical biosciences;
- And much more.
Advanced courses foster critical thinking and professional judgment. Students consider existing research, clinical experience, and diagnostic studies in defining clinical objectives and managing cases. They become familiar with US healthcare delivery systems, to help patients navigate community resources and treatment options, and acquire the knowledge and skill to work as part of the medical team in a wide variety of settings. As self-directed, life-long learners, practitioners must honestly reflect on their experience and objectively judge their performance. This reflection is what Pacific College calls practice-based learning. It leads to personal growth, as well as professional development, and it is a hallmark of a Pacific College doctor.
Graduates of the Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM) will be able to:
- Understand and demonstrate personal and professional ethical standards;
- Understand the etiology of disease from a traditional Chinese and biomedical perspective, and apply this understanding by recommending disease prevention strategies;
- Evaluate patients exhibiting complaints commonly seen and treated by Eastern medicine, and in a manner that indicates cognizance of all relevant Chinese medical diagnostic paradigms;
- Recognize signs and symptoms necessitating referral to appropriate complementary healthcare providers;
- Formulate treatment principles in a manner that prioritizes treatment procedures for patients that follow logically from the diagnosis;
- Formulate acupuncture, Chinese herbal and supplemental treatment plans, while providing a logical rationale for such plans. (DACM only);
- Formulate acupuncture and supplemental treatment plans, while providing a logical rationale for such plans. (DAc only);
- Personally administer the designated treatment plan, or use the appropriate support personnel;
- Demonstrate knowledge of clinical sciences from a traditional Chinese and bio-medical perspective;
- Communicate in a professional and knowledgeable manner about Chinese medicine and biomedicine with relevant healthcare professionals.
1: Entry-level means that students can enter the doctoral programs without having first earned a master’s degree.
2: Because the doctoral degrees achieve all the competencies of the master’s degrees, doctoral graduates will simultaneously earn both degrees.
For a limited time, PCOM will still be accepting students into the master’s degrees. However, students with sufficient prerequisites will enter the DACM. If you're interested in our entry-level doctoral acupuncture program, please contact an admissions representative to learn what options are best for you.
For important information on program costs, completion and placement rates, median debt incurred, etc., please see the program disclosure document.
Value and Benefits of Degree and Courses
What is the value of a DAc/DACM as a credential when the LAc is the industry standard?
An entry-level doctorate demonstrates the highest level of licensure-qualifying training in the profession. In addition to the broad study of Chinese medical theory and therapy, the curriculum addresses the need of acupuncturists to possess knowledge and skills in evidence-informed practice, biomedical diagnosis, preventative medicine, public health, collaborative case management, current health care systems, and practice-based learning. These are important in today’s team-based medical model.
The doctoral title and degree provides the graduate well-deserved recognition. All other factors being equal, we believe integrative medical settings will prioritize hiring doctors of acupuncture. Medical doctors, and other allied health providers may be more likely to refer to a doctor of acupuncture.
While licensed acupuncturist is a common descriptor in our field today, it is a license title, not a degree. We believe that as colleges award more new doctoral degrees, doctor of acupuncture will become the most common way to refer to an acupuncturist.
Degree Title Awarded
What is the degree that will be awarded upon successful completion of the program? What titles will graduates of the program hold? Is the use of the title allowed in all states?
Upon successful completion, the degree of Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM) and the Master of Science in Traditional Oriental Medicine (MSTOM) will be awarded. This is an earned academic degree from a regionally accredited institution. Individual states may have guidelines describing the manner in which healthcare providers may use the term “doctor” or the initials “Dr.”; we know of none that prevent an individual with an earned doctorate from an accredited college from using the term in their professional practice, particularly when followed by the degree name.
Until individual states and certification agencies adjust their licensure regulations to recognize the doctoral degree, DACM graduates will receive both the DACM and the MSTOM degree concurrently upon completion of the DACM. Graduates are eligible for the California state licensure exam, as well as the national certification examinations, which enables students to become licensed in the remaining states that regulate acupuncture and Oriental medicine schools. Students of the doctorate program are also eligible to enroll in Pacific College’s massage programs, allowing them to earn a massage license and work in the field while completing their degree.
What are the Program Prerequisites?
How is the school accredited?
PCOM is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
How can some schools claim they have ACAOM approval?
Pacific College, and a few other schools, have permission from ACAOM to develop and deliver this entry-level doctorate. However, since WSCUC approved PCOM to award the DACM and DAc, graduates from Pacific College are guaranteed the ability to earn the degree.
Is financial aid available? Will there be Financial Aid available in the future?
Yes, for those who qualify. Our financial aid department will be able to walk you through the steps to applying.
The Pacific College of Oriental Medicine entry-level Doctorate of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine is not accredited or pre-accredited (candidacy) by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM). Graduates of this program are not considered to have graduated from an ACAOM accredited or candidate program and may not rely on ACAOM accreditation or candidacy for professional licensure or other purposes. This program is eligible for ACAOM accreditation and Pacific College of Oriental Medicine is currently in the process of seeking ACAOM candidacy/accreditation for the program. However, Pacific College of Oriental Medicine can provide no assurance that candidacy or accreditation will be granted by ACAOM.