The Council was formed in 1982 to advance the standing of acupuncture and herbal medicine in the U.S. by promoting educational excellence within the field. The founders and early members of the Council were educators who understood that the integrity of any profession is directly dependent upon the quality of its educational system.

Accordingly, the Council created a separate accreditation commission to establish measurement standards for educational achievement with the goal of obtaining formal recognition and approval of those standards in the traditional higher education community. This commission became the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM). By 1990, ACAOM had achieved its original objectives: U.S. Department of Education recognition for accreditation of acupuncture programs at the professional master's degree level and recognition by the prestigious Council on Post-Secondary Accreditation (COPA).

These achievements served to elevate acupuncture and Oriental Medicine graduate programs to be commensurate with other health professional programs acknowledged by the American higher education community. The skills and knowledge required of an acupuncture & herbal medicine practitioner were now recognized as the culmination of a comprehensive graduate education.

Since its inception, the Council has been driven by a single overriding commitment to deepen practitioners' knowledge, understanding and skills. The Council leadership and member colleges are credited for having continually reviewed, refined, and expanded the basic acupuncture & herbal medicine program  "core curriculum", the description of essential knowledge and skills taught by all member programs, resulting in:

  • A substantial increase in the quality and quantity of didactic and clinical education
  • Accreditation of the master's level programs
  • Creation of new standards for programs offering complementary training in herbal medicine
  • Development and accreditation of doctoral level programs

The incredible results of this cooperative effort among the Council's member colleges have become apparent. Not only has the Council been vital to the evolution of a more highly skilled practitioner, but it has played a pivotal role in the accomplishment of the broader mission of the profession. The Council has influenced the acceptance and accessibility of acupuncture and herbal medicine throughout the country.