1.1) What is Accreditation…and Why is it Important? [Top]
Accreditation assesses the quality of institutions, programs and services, measuring them against agreed-upon standards and thereby assuring that they meet those standards.
In the case of post-secondary education and training, there are two kinds of accreditation: institutional and programmatic (or specialized).
Institutional accreditation helps to assure potential students that a school is a sound institution and has met certain minimum standards in terms of administration, resources, faculty and facilities.
Programmatic (or specialized) accreditation examines specific schools or programs within an educational institution (e.g., the law school, the medical school, the nursing program).
The standards by which these programs are measured have generally been developed by the professionals involved in each discipline and are intended to reflect what a person needs to know and be able to do to function successfully within that profession.
Accreditation in the health-related disciplines also serves a very important public interest. Along with certification and licensure, accreditation is a tool intended to help assure a well-prepared and qualified workforce providing health care services.
1.2) Why is CAAHEP and not the Committee on Accreditation the accreditor? [Top]
The simplest answer is that your committee is a member of CAAHEP for the purpose of having a nationally recognized organization accredit the profession that your committee represents. CAAHEP provides legal liability coverage to your committee and assures oversight and due process to all programs that participate in the CAAHEP system of accreditation. As such CAAHEP is responsible for handling all appeals that are a result of a committee’s recommendation and the: CAAHEP Board of Directors subsequent action. CAAHEP is the accreditation expert while your committee is the profession’s expert.
1.3) How Does an Educational Program Become CAAHEP-Accredited? [Top]
While there are some differences among the 32 professions within CAAHEP, all accredited programs must go through a rigorous process that has certain elements in common:
1. Self-Study – the program does its own analysis of how well it measures up to the established Standards.
2. Site Visit – JRC-CVT offers site visits using a virtual platform (a virtual site visit) and in-person. The site visit provides an opportunity for the site visit team to determine how accurately the self study reflects the status of the program and to answer any additional questions that arise. The site visit, which is conducted by a team of site visitors, is a “peer review” process and often, after the formal part of the site visit is concluded, team members will share ideas for how a program can be strengthened or improved.
3. Committee Review and Recommendation – the CoA for the specific discipline will review the report from the site visitors and develop a recommendation. If there are areas where the program does not demonstrate compliance with the Standards, these areas will be identified and progress reports will be requested to assure that each program continues its efforts to fully comply with all Standards.
4. CAAHEP Board of Directors – the CAAHEP Board of Directors will then act upon the recommendations forwarded from each CoA, assuring that due process has been met and that Standards are being applied consistently and equitably.
Length of Accreditation Awards
With the exception of Initial Accreditation, which is for a period of five years, an award of CAAHEP accreditation is not time-limited. When a CoA recommends that a program be accredited, they also recommend when the next comprehensive evaluation should take place. While each Committee establishes its own intervals (three years, five years, seven years, etc.), the maximum interval between comprehensive reviews is ten years. A Committee may also request a progress report or schedule a special, limited (focused) site visit if a program has serious problems that need to be addressed.
1.4) Why do both CAAHEP and our committee vote to grant programs accreditation? [Top]
Only CAAHEP grants accreditation. The committee is voting to forward a recommendation of initial, continuing, transfer of sponsorship, probation, withhold or withdrawal of accreditation to the CAAHEP