Licensing and Accreditation

POCA Tech Entrance

POCA Tech is licensed in Oregon as a private career school by the Higher Education Coordinating Commission. Higher Education Coordinating Commission, 775 Court St. NE, Salem, OR 97310-1300 Tel (503) 947-5751

POCA Technical Institute has been granted Candidacy status for institutional accreditation by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM), which is the recognized accrediting agency for freestanding institutions and colleges of acupuncture or Oriental medicine that offer such programs. ACAOM is located at 8941 Aztec Drive, Eden Prairie, Minnesota 55347; phone 952/212-2434; fax 952/657-7068.

The Master’s level Certificate in Acupuncture program in English of the POCA Technical Institute has been granted Candidacy status by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM), which is the recognized accrediting agency for programs preparing acupuncture and Oriental medicine practitioners. ACAOM is located at 8941 Aztec Drive, Eden Prairie, Minnesota 55347; phone 952/212-2434; fax 952/657-7068.

FAQs about National Accreditation (with Answers in Plain English)

Is POCA Tech accredited?

No, not yet. Part of the purpose of accreditation is to protect the public from diploma mills and other shady things that are not schools, but are pretending to be in order to take students’ money.  During the accreditation process the school establishes that it is really a school and is doing all of the things a school ought to be doing. That means that a school can’t start the accreditation process until it is open and its operations can be examined. It is impossible to become fully accredited until at least one class has graduated. We designed POCA Tech’s program to meet the standards of the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.  Getting accredited is a core part of POCA Tech’s purpose. It will take at least three years for our acupuncture school to get fully accredited. The process is laborious both for the school itself and ACAOM, the accrediting agency.

Why is accreditation important for an acupuncture school? (Can’t you just skip this part?)

Accreditation is a vital part of graduates being able to get acupuncture licenses. Most states require applicants for licensure to have passed the NCCAOM exams. The NCCAOM will not let you sit for the exam unless you graduated from an accredited school or one that has been admitted to “Candidacy Status” which is where we are now.

Can you guarantee that POCA Tech will get accredited?

NO. Absolutely not. We can guarantee that we are obsessed with becoming accredited and we are committed to doing everything we can possibly do. We are all over the process, but the ultimate decisions are not up to us.

So am I taking a risk by enrolling in POCA Tech before it’s accredited?

YES. You are. Just like everyone in the POCA Cooperative who has invested their time, energy, and money in getting the school off the ground. POCA Tech is a collective dream for the co-op: it’s a big investment and a big risk and to us, it’s worth it. We don’t want you to enroll in POCA Tech unless you feel the same way. Especially since we’re going to ask you to help with the accreditation process by filling out evaluations, going to meetings, volunteering in various ways etc.

If you don’t want to take this risk with us, there are plenty of other acupuncture schools.

Is there anything I can do right now to help POCA Tech’s chances of becoming accredited?

Yes there is! Thank you for asking! You can become a POCA Tech Sustainer.

A major part of getting accredited, and the primary reason that some acupuncture schools DON’T get accredited, is that you have to prove that your school is financially stable. As a small non-profit that is charging less tuition than any other acupuncture school in the US, this is especially important. The best thing we can do, hands down, to prove our financial stability is to build a large base of people who are giving small, regular contributions. Your $5 or $10 a month is a huge deal to us.

Practitioner Licensing

Each State licenses practitioners, and has individual licensing requirements. Here’s a chart of state by state licensing requirements from the NCCAOM.

            Oregon:  Oregon Medical Board, 1500 SW 1st Ave., Suite 620, Portland, OR 97201-5847. ph: 971-673-2700

            Washington:  Washington State Department of Health, P.O. Box 47865, Olympia, WA 98504-7865. email: hsqa.csc@doh.wa.gov.

I want to practice in California. Can I go to POCA Tech?

California has a lot of thriving clinics that need employees, and a lot of communities that need access to affordable acupuncture. We would love to train students to fill these spots. As a potential California practitioner, you need to be extra attentive to what is happening with state laws and regulations for licensure. California is complicated, and it's not going to get any less complicated before you need to make your decision. Here are some of the things you need to know:

  1. California administers its own licensing exam, instead of accepting the NCCAOM exams, as most other states do.
  2. California does its own school approval process, instead of relying on ACAOM, like most other states do.
  3. California is one of only a few states to require acupuncturists to also be Herbalists, fully trained in Chinese herbal medicine.
  4. California has a few specific course requirements that are in addition to what most states require.

Regarding number 1 and number 2, California is in the process of considering using NCCAOM and ACAOM. This would greatly simplify things for POCA Tech students, since the program is designed to satisfy those requirements. You can read more about this possible change on the State Senate website. The timeframe for California to switch is very short - by 2016, if it does indeed happen.

Regarding number 3 and 4, this requirement would add another calendar year to the planned POCA Tech curriculum. The POCA Tech Board is in the process of considering this additional year of curriculum from a logistical and financial perspective. California is one of a handful of states that requires an herbal education; New Mexico and Florida are two others.

The POCA Tech Board is enthusiastic about considering this extra piece to the curriculum, yet there are still key questions that need to be answered such as:

  • How many students would be impacted?
  • What kind of faculty and physical facility requirements would there be?
  • What extra tuition burden would this place on the students?
  • How much residency would be required, and
  • Can any of it be concurrent with acupuncture clinical training?

POCA and POCA Tech are volunteer-run, and we need some volunteers to take on creating a business plan for this. Some folks have started and it needs more work. Prospective students have been involved in lots of the nitty-gritty tasks required to get the school off the ground; this one needs some folks to step up and say "I want this to happen."