Understanding Accreditation and Why it Matters

Posted by Justine Meccio on Wed, Jun 19, 2013 @ 12:00 PM

What is Accreditation?

When looking at an educational program of any nature, one important factor to consider is accreditation. Accreditation is the process used within higher education to evaluate the quality of colleges, universities, and educational programs. It is a form of endorsement signifying that a college, university, or educational program offers a legitimate form of education.

Obtaining Accreditation

Schools obtain accreditation by applying to have their institution or curriculum reviewed by an independent accrediting agency. Accrediting agencies are private, nongovernmental educational associations designed to conduct external quality assessments. Each agency sets educational and institutional standards for the types of programs, colleges, or universities it accredits.

Within the U.S. there are many different accrediting agencies that evaluate and accredit programs based on criteria specific to the nature and purpose of each agency, or to a specific field of study. While the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) does not accredit institutions directly, it does determine which accrediting agencies receive official recognition by the DOE.

Institutions may become eligible for federal funds, including federal student financial aid, by achieving accreditation with an agency recognized by the DOE.

Regional Accreditationregionally accredited acupuncture school

Regional accreditation is a form of institutional accreditation that is granted after a school has completed a comprehensive peer review process of all its institutional functions. The U.S. Department of Education recognizes regional accrediting agencies for six geographic regions of the United States. These include:

Because the institutional standards for obtaining regional accreditation are rigorous, regional accreditation ensures a high level of educational quality and effectiveness for students. In general, credits obtained at a regionally accredited institution can be accepted as transfer by other schools, including other regionally accredited colleges or universities.

Regional accreditation may be granted to public and private, nonprofit, and for-profit, two- and four-year institutions.

National Accreditation

National Accreditation is typically granted by an accreditation agency that focuses on a particular type of education. National accreditation agencies are often specific to institutions that offer single-purpose degree programs, occupational, vocational, or professional education and training and degrees. Examples of national accreditors include:  

Many national accrediting agencies are recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). CHEA is a private, nongovernmental agency that recognizes independent accrediting agencies, though it employs a different process and criteria for recognition than the US Department of Education. CHEA maintains an online list of accrediting agencies it recognizes.

Specialized Programmatic Accreditationgraduate program in acupuncture and chinese medicine

Programmatic accreditation refers to a type of accreditation for a specialized discipline or field of study offered by an institution, but does not necessarily evaluate the college or university as a whole. Specialized accreditation exists within more than 90 disciplines, encompassing the fields of education, health care, law, the arts and humanities, community and social services, and personal care and human service.

Programmatic accreditation agencies ensure that a program of study offered by an institution complies with current educational standards for a specific professional field or academic discipline. Some programmatic accreditors may require regional accreditation as a foundation prior to granting accreditation, and many specialized programmatic accrediting agencies are recognized by the US Department of Education.

Examples of specialized programmatic accreditors include:

Asking about Accreditation

To determine if a specific college, university, or educational program is accredited consult the school’s website, catalog, or ask the school’s admissions department. The U.S. Department of Education publishes a list of recognized accrediting agencies with information about the nature and purpose of each accreditor.

To learn more about AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine’s accreditation and affiliations, please visit For more additional information about accreditation for the field of acupuncture & Oriental medicine, please visit the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (ACAOM)

Download Introduction to DAOM Learn More: Download an Overview of the Master's Program  


Schray, Vickie. "Assuring Quality in Higher Education: Key Issues and Questions for Changing Accreditation in the United States, Issue Paper, The Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education (Fourth in a series of Issue Papers released at the request of Chairman Charles Miller to inform the work of the Commission)" (PDF). U.S. Department of Education, Washington D.C.
"Understanding Accreditation of U.S. Colleges and Universities." Web blog post. Http:// Nelnet, 29 Jan. 2013. Web. <>.
"Accreditation in the United States." College Accreditation in the United States -- TOC. US Department of Education (DOE), n.d. Web. 23 May 2013. <>.
Eaton, Judith S. Accreditation and Recognition in the U.S. Rep. Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), 2012. Web. 23 May 2013. <>.
Jang, D. "What Is Regional Accreditation and Why Is It Important?" Weblog post. Western Interstate Commission of Higher Education (WICHE). WICHE, 12 Aug. 2010. Web. 23 May 2013. <>
"Types of Accreditation." Western Assocation of Schools and Colleges (WASC). WASC, n.d. Web. 23 May 2013. <>

Topics: acupuncture school, regional accreditation, national accreditation, accreditation

Top 5 Reasons to Choose AOMA as your School of Acupuncture

Posted by Sarah Bentley on Sat, Jan 05, 2013 @ 04:44 PM

Regional Accreditation

AOMA is the first single-purpose school of acupuncture and Chinese medicine in the nation to receive regional accreditation. AOMA is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to award the master's degree. Regional accreditation makes it easier for AOMA students to transfer credits and degrees to other universities and programs. Because the institutional standards for regional accreditation are rigorous, regional accreditation also ensures a level of educational quality for AOMA students. More information about masters degree, job placement rates and program costs.

Rigorous Comprehensive Curriculumschool of acupuncture

AOMA's Master of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (MAcOM) program is rigorous and comprehensive and includes over 900 hours of clinical internship. Students receive education in acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, biomedical sciences, mind-body exercise, Asian bodywork, practice management, case management, and clinical communications. AOMA’s herbal program is one of the strongest in the nation and AOMA is one of the few professional programs to integrate taiji and qigong. Check out the curriculum.

Internationally Recognized Faculty

AOMA recruits and employs highly qualified and experienced faculty, many of whom are from China and other countries. The cultural diversity of the faculty adds another dimension to the educational experience of our students and the quality of our faculty assures students a sound knowledge base for practice. Our faculty includes PhDs, physicians, doctors of osteopathy, chiropractors, naturopaths, and pharmacists in a variety of areas. Our faculty hold degrees representing institutions in China, Israel, India, as well as the United States. Meet our faculty.

school of acupuncture

Successful Alumni

AOMA graduates have discovered a life of passion and purpose – a life where professional achievement meets personal fulfillment. They have gone on to become private practice acupuncturists, herbalists, authors, university faculty, entrepreneurs, as well as pursuing doctoral degrees in acupuncture. They speak at national conferences, author books and journal articles about Chinese medicine and go on to teach at the graduate level. AOMA graduates are at the forefront of medicine, practicing in clinics that integrate Eastern and Western medical traditions. Read AOMA alumni spotlights for insight into real life practice after graduation.

Community in Austin, Texas

Austin is a vibrant city with a host of entertainment options for visitors. Austinites enjoy hiking, cycling, swimming, local food, and listening to live music. AOMA is fortunate to find itself encircled by many diverse communities in which our students actively participate. Students find ample avenues available to sustain their growth both personally and professionally as healers in a city noted for supporting a healthy lifestyle. Get helpful tips and information about travel, accommodations, and finding your way around the city to make planning your visit to Austin easy.

Master of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine

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Topics: acupuncture school, regional accreditation, curriculum, Austin

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