The CCAOM was formed in 1982 for the purpose of advancing the status of acupuncture and Oriental medicine in the United States by promoting educational excellence within the field. The founders and early members of the Council were educators, and as such understood that the integrity of any profession is directly dependent upon the quality of its educational system. By promoting educational excellence within the field, the Council has assisted the acceptance of acupuncture and Oriental medicine in the United States.
With this in mind, the Council created a separate accreditation commission, whose objectives were to establish standards by which to measure educational achievement, and eventually obtain formal recognition and approval of those standards through the traditional higher education channels established in this country. This commission became the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM). By the fall of 1990, ACAOM had achieved its original aims: recognition by the U.S. Department of Education for accreditation of acupuncture programs at the professional master's degree level and recognition by the prestigious Council on Post secondary Accreditation (COPA). Finally, the skills and knowledge required of a practitioner of acupuncture and Oriental medicine were seen as the culmination of a comprehensive graduate education, on a par with other professional programs acknowledged by the community of American higher education.
Since its inception, the work of the Council has been driven by a single overriding commitment to deepen the knowledge, understanding and skills of the practitioner of acupuncture and Oriental medicine. Over the years, the Council and its member schools have continually reviewed, refined, and expanded the basic "core curriculum" of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, the description of essential knowledge and skills taught by all member programs. As a result, the quality and quantity of didactic and clinical education has increased substantially, the master's level program was accredited, new standards have been created for programs offering complementary training in herbal medicine, and a doctoral level of education has recently been developed. The results of this cooperative effort among the Council's member schools have become clearly evident. Not only has the Council played a vital role in the evolution of a more accomplished practitioner through ever higher standards of training and opportunities for learning, but it has also played a pivotal role in the accomplishment of the broader mission of all members of our profession - the greater acceptance and accessibility of acupuncture and Oriental medicine in the United States.