Transitional Doctorate for Acupuncture Graduates

Transitional Doctorate for Acupuncture Graduates

Join us for a live webinar about the Transitional Doctorate with PCOM's President Jack Miller!
MARCH 21st at 4:30 pm, PT

Enroll in a well-established DAc or DACM program from a solid, accredited College

The doctorate is the new standard for incoming acupuncture students

Now that entry-level practitioners can graduate with a DAc or DACM, established acupuncturists may need more than experience and great private practice skills to remain competitive. Across the United States, healthcare practitioners are considering obtaining higher credentials — whether a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, a Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, or other acupuncture doctoral programs. By offering an online, post-graduate program leading to a Doctor of Acupuncture or Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine credential, Pacific College is forging a path for those with a master’s degree looking to conveniently achieve the prestige of a doctoral education while still working full-time.

Program Highlights

  • Enroll in a flexible and interactive online program designed for the working practitioner
  • Complete the program in as little as two semesters, or study part time
  • Learn from a Pacific College faculty member in a dedicated mentorship format
  • Enrich and further your current understanding of both biomedicine and Chinese medicine
  • Study applications of interprofessional communication by observing a healthcare practitioner
  • Develop skills that can help you achieve success in the integrative healthcare system
  • Earn a Doctor of Acupuncture (DAc) or Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM) credential
  • Join the ranks of doctors in the holistic healthcare movement

How Does It Work?

  • The program is open to alumni from all acupuncture colleges and universities.
  • It is 100% online.
  • The online acupuncture degree program is typically completed in 2 to 4 semesters.
  • There are multiple schedule options available every day, for every time zone.
  • The classes are live and in real-time. You can see and hear your teacher and fellow doctoral candidates. A true sense of camaraderie is developed, and with no travel to San Diego required.
  • Because the 28 doctoral competencies are the same for all students, candidates who enter with a master’s in Oriental Medicine or the equivalent will earn the Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM), while those entering with a master’s in acupuncture or the equivalent will earn the Doctor of Acupuncture (DAc).
  • Following application, non-PCOM graduates will start the admissions process with a comparison of their master’s curriculum to PCOM’s. All applicants will evidence the following:
    • Pre-Requisites: 90 semester units of undergraduate coursework and a minimum gpa of 3.0 within your acupuncture education
    • Co-Requisites: Upon evaluation of your transcripts, additional co-requisites may be required. Please note that if co-requisite requirements are identified, you may begin your program and have until graduation to complete these. 

Contact a Doctoral Admissions Representative for the wide variety of ways to meet the pre- or co-requisites.

*A note about degree title: The term “transitional or T” is used in advertising and catalogs to distinguish between this course of study taken by practicing acupuncturists and the one taken by new, entry-level students. However, because the goal of the program is to achieve degree parity, a “T” is not and should not be placed on the degree, consistent with the practice of the physical therapy profession and PCOM’s approval by WSCUC. Graduates of these PCOM programs will have an earned doctorate from a regionally accredited college.

Graduates of this program are not considered to have graduated from an ACAOM accredited or pre-accredited program and may not rely on ACAOM accreditation or pre-accreditation for professional licensure or other purposes.

Finanical Aid is Available to Those Who Qualify

The transitional doctorate curriculum was developed by doctoral educators, subject matter experts, and experienced distance education designers. It is based on the 28 entry-level doctoral competencies. The online delivery method has been developed and refined over the last six years in our undergraduate degrees and post-graduate Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM) program. It has been tremendously well received and embraced by students at all levels of computer literacy. The curriculum has been vetted by PCOM alumni since fall 2015.

Click here for real stories on how this program impacted our alumni’s careers.

Download our Informational Brochure here

TDACM Brochure

Model Curriculum:

Term 1 Units  Hours 
Evidence-Informed Practice345
Inter-Professional Communication115
Healthcare Systems345
Preventive Medicine and Public Health230
Advanced Integrative Diagnostics345
Term 2UnitsHours
Clinical Research Design and Statistics230
Integrative Case Management345
Practice-Based Learning345
Applications of Inter-Professional Communication260
Program Total:22360

In this program, you will find an emphasis on advancing your knowledge and skills to work effectively in a variety of integrative healthcare systems. In so doing, you will expand the opportunities for yourself and future generations of acupuncturists by being an active part of the integrative healthcare movement. Most importantly, you will be expanding the primary care and wellness options of your patients. Pacific College is proud to be at the forefront of entry-level doctoral education for new students. With this post-graduate program, it provides the same opportunity for the pioneers and experienced practitioners. 

Student Testimonial

The fact that I am legally a doctor of my craft and can have "Dr." on my business card speaks volumes. It brings a level of legitimacy and confidence to the patient that I don't think was noticed before. Because of the title, I was able to raise my prices without any hesitation. I am forever grateful to PCOM for helping me help people as part of a very rewarding lifestyle. When I graduated, I thought the tuition for acupuncture school was too expensive, but I now I see that even if the tuition had been $50k or $75k more, it still would have been worth it!

-Dr. Alex Ezzati, Transitional Doctorate Graduate,


Download the Information Packet and Application Here

Who Can Apply?

Are alumni from all acupuncture colleges and universities eligible for the transitional DACM and DAc programs?

Yes. From the earliest discussions of the entry-level or first professional doctorate (FPD), Pacific College stated that no master’s level graduate should be left behind. All acupuncturists deserve an opportunity to bridge the gap between their master’s training and the new doctorate. Upon completion, they deserve degree parity with entry-level doctoral graduates.

Apply Here


Admissions Requirements

What is the process for admissions?

Candidates are accepted for entry to terms beginning in January, May, or September of each year. Applications are accepted throughout the year. Prospective applicants are encouraged to apply well in advance of their desired start date. In addition, a technical requirement preparatory process must be completed approximately one month before the start of the term.

To apply for admission to Pacific College an applicant should send the following to the Office of Admissions:

1. A completed Pacific College application form

2. Application fee ($100)

3. Official master’s degree transcripts

4. Proof of the 90 semester units of undergraduate coursework

Are there specific prerequisite courses?

A student’s entrance into the program begins with an assessment of their master’s degree curriculum in comparison to Pacific’s. Any substantial deficiencies are assigned as either prerequisites to admission or co-requisites to the program of study.
Candidates must also have 90 semester/135 quarter units of undergraduate coursework from an institution accredited by an agency recognized by the Department of Education or an international equivalent.

Will transfer credit be available for any of these courses?

Yes. Up to five units may be transferred. To be eligible, a course must be a graduate level course that achieves all the course learning objectives of the designated course. Work experience and CEU courses do not qualify for transfer credit. Most Pacific College master’s alumni will earn five units of transfer credit, making their program 17 units. Other students may qualify, as well.

Do official transcripts from previous acupuncture colleges need to be provided as proof of MSAc/MSTOM degree or equivalent completion and coursework?

Yes. Students will be required to furnish official transcripts for evaluation as part of the admissions decision process.

Can a student postpone their application to another term? Will the tuition remain the same for subsequent terms?

An application and application fee may be carried forward for up to two terms. After that, the student must reapply. Application fees are non-refundable. Fees and tuition are subject to change, as are prerequisites and curriculum.

Is state licensure a prerequisite to the programs?

No. But the richness of the classes is directly related to students’ professional experience so we require proof of experience in the form of state licensure, NCCAOM certification, or a documented acupuncture practice.

Apply Here


Degree Title Awarded

What is the degree that will be awarded upon successful completion of the program?

Pacific College’s WSCUC approval to offer the transitional doctorate allows those who enter the program with a master’s degree in acupuncture or equivalent to earn the Doctor of Acupuncture (DAc) and students who enter with a master’s degree in acupuncture and Oriental medicine or equivalent to earn the Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM). The doctoral curriculum is the same for either student.


Online and Attendance Questions

Are the online classes synchronous or asynchronous? In other words, are they in “real time?”

All the classes are online and synchronous with the exception of Application of Inter-Professional Communication, which includes an observation experience in your home town. They occur in “real time” and are interactive. Students and teachers can see and hear each other. The program is 100% online and will not involve any travel to a campus.

What does “online” mean in relation to the Application of Inter-Professional Communication course and how is it different compared to the other courses that have designated class times?

Application of Inter-Professional Communication includes 30 hours of observing a health care professional other than an acupuncturist in your home town, and online mentorship from a Pacific College faculty member.

What is the attendance policy?

A student must attend at least 75% of the course hours. Application of Inter-Professional Communication requires 100% attendance.

Will the lectures be made available for missed classes?

Archived lectures are typically available of each course. However, they may not be used as a substitute for attendance.


Program Structure

How much homework will there be for these courses?

This program was designed for the working practitioner. The program may be taken on a part-time basis--as few as one course per term. A variety of class schedules allow the busy practitioner to take the program while still working, while full-time enrollment (12 units) requires approximately 30 hours per week of class and outside work.

Is there a capstone project or dissertation?

No, although there is a culminating assignment in Practice-Based Learning that synthesizes many of the program learning objectives.

When are the classes held?

Classes may be held on any day. Schedules vary from term to term.



Is the tuition cost subject to change?

Yes. Tuition is subject to change.

When and how do I pay my tuition?

By the second week of classes, the tuition bill is accessible through student online portal. Payments can be made in the student portal or by sending a check. The San Diego Campus Information Center can assist you with the process and can also accept checks. Full payments are due by the Wednesday of the third week to avoid any late charges.

Students may pay their bills, and see schedules, attendance, and grades through the portal.

The use of credit cards to pay tuition may be subject to a small convenience charge in the future.

Is there a financing/payment plan option?

Yes. Tuition and fees may be paid by check, money order, or credit card in full or by using a monthly payment plan. The payment plan fee is $25 per term. The initial payment is due on the Wednesday of the third week of the semester, and subsequent payments are due on the 10th day of each month thereafter (or the first business day thereafter, if the 10th falls on the weekend.) There are four payment dates per term.

Is there Title IV financial aid available?

Yes. Eligible students may apply for financial aid, and a payment plan is available for students who choose not to use financial aid. Students may defer current Title IV loans while in the program.


Technology Requirements

What are the technology requirements for this program?

For the technology requirements for this program, such as computer specifications, browser features, and bandwidth needs, please see this document.



Will there be CEUs/PDA available?

The California Acupuncture Board and The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) regularly update their continuing education policies. While some of the transitional doctorate courses are currently approved for continuing education credit by the California Acupuncture Board and accepted as PDAs by NCCAOM, Pacific College cannot make any guarantee regarding our ability to offer CEUs/PDAs for doctoral courses.


Click here for real stories on how this program impacted our alumni’s careers.


Who Should Choose This Type of Program?

The transitional Doctorate of Acupuncture is the next step in education for those with a master’s in Oriental medicine, a master’s in acupuncture, or the equivalent. Students with a master’s in Oriental medicine or the equivalent will earn the Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM) degree, while those enrolled with a master’s in acupuncture or the equivalent will earn the Doctor of Acupuncture degree (DAc).

Designed for working practitioners, the program can be completed by taking one course per semester, or students can enroll full time and complete the program in as little as two semesters. The main objective of PCOM’s curriculum is to deepen students’ understanding of biomedicine, Chinese medicine, and acupuncture. Through a one-on-one online mentorship, students will receive guidance over the course of their professional development of ethics and communication, problem-solving, and leadership skills. Students will study evidence-informed practice, healthcare systems, and integrative case management. Courses will teach the foundations of interprofessional communication and provide an opportunity to observe a healthcare practitioner other than an acupuncturist in a professional healthcare setting. Based on 28 entry-level doctoral competencies, the curriculum has been developed by doctoral educators, subject matter experts, and experienced distance education designers. Upon completion of the online acupuncture degree, students will have earned a doctorate from a regionally accredited college.

 Download the program fact sheet HERE.

Career Information

With a Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM) or a Doctor of Acupuncture degree, graduates may qualify for employment across a wide variety of settings, including:

  • Group Clinics
  • Private Practice
  • Holistic Health Centers
  • Hospitals
  • Spas
  • Physical therapy and chiropractic offices
  • National and state agencies
  • And more!

Federal Consumer Disclosure Information About This Program

For important information on program costs, completion and placement rates, median debt incurred, etc., please see the program disclosure document.

About Us

Since 1986, those with a calling to heal and promote overall health in the mind and body have been led to the programs at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. Graduates are prepared to both prevent and remedy pain, discomfort, and disease through practices such as massage therapy, acupuncture, and holistic nursing.

Pacific College prepares students for careers as healing practitioners through an intersection of Eastern healthcare practices and Western medicine with a strong hands-on clinical component. All three campus locations feature student clinics where learning practitioners serve the needs of real clients.

From the earliest discussions on the entry-level or first professional doctorate (FPD), Pacific College stated that no master’s graduate should be left behind. Each of you deserve an opportunity to bridge the gap between your master’s training and the new acupuncture doctoral programs. Upon completion of this program, you will earn degree parity with entry-level doctoral graduates, just like your colleagues in physical therapy, occupational therapy and other professions who have already been offered such pathways.

Contact a Doctoral Admissions Representative for  a complimentary assessment of the 90 undergraduate credit requirement.  There may be credits found within your acupuncture education that we can count toward your undergraduate credit requirement!

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