How Can I Determine if a Healthcare Degree Is Accredited?
Accreditation of a healthcare degree indicates that the specific program meets established standards of quality education. Read this article for information about the accrediting organizations.
Accreditation means that an independent body has found that an educational program or institution meets or exceeds established criteria of excellence in education. Accreditation assures the quality of a program or institution, and employers tend to prefer hiring those who hold accredited degrees. Two types of accreditation are typically available. One form of accreditation applies to the college or university as a whole, while the other is program-specific. For example, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education accredits Johns Hopkins University. In addition, its medical school holds accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accredits its nursing program.
Important Facts about Accredited Healthcare Degrees
|Prerequisites||In addition to specific academic requirements, like a high school diploma or its equivalent, students may need to submit to background checks and drug tests|
|Programs||Undergraduate and degree levels widely available|
|Online Availability||Many schools offer fully and partially online programs|
|Possible Careers||Medical lab technician, patient care tech, vocational nurse, dental assistant, medical insurance biller, veterinary technologist, medical assistant|
|Median Salary (2018)||$52,330 (Medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||13% (Medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
How to Confirm Accreditation: School Websites
The first place you might check for the accreditation status of a school or program is on the school's website. Most schools include a page that lists the accreditations it holds, and these pages may include program-specific accreditation. Schools may also list program-specific information on an information page for that particular degree.
After reading over a school's claims about its accreditation, you might want to confirm that information with the accrediting organization and verify that the accrediting organization is a valid one. Sometimes, diploma mills will create a bogus accrediting organization and corresponding website to fool unsuspecting students. A good step is to use a search engine to look for the accrediting organization's website and then use its search engine to find a school. This search may often help you locate more detailed information about a school, including when its accreditation is up for renewal.
If you're still concerned that a school or accrediting organization isn't legitimate, you can check with the U.S. Department of Education to see a list of accrediting organizations it recognizes. Another good resource is the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), an independent organization that serves as a clearinghouse for accreditation information. Its search engines allow you to search by a number of factors, from schools to program-specific accreditation.
Accreditation of healthcare programs is wide-ranging, with many fields of study having accrediting organizations overseeing program-specific standards. As mentioned earlier, medical programs and nursing programs often have program-specific accreditation. Programs in healthcare management may hold accreditation from the following two groups.
The Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education
Started in 1968, the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the CHEA as the only accrediting body for master's degree programs in health administration. Consisting of a diverse group of educational, commercial, professional and clinical organizations, CAHME establishes criteria for health administration education, determines if programs meet these criteria and makes its findings available to the public on its website. If a healthcare-related program is accredited by CAHME, it meets or exceeds standards created by and for the field of healthcare administration.
The Association of University Programs in Health Administration
Formed in 1948, the Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA) is a non-profit association of health administration providers, practitioners, faculty and educational programs. Its mission is to promote excellence in health administration education. AUPHA certifies undergraduate health administration degree programs. The certification process involves a self-study by the healthcare program and then an external review by a panel of peers. Successful completion of this process results in certification by AUPHA. AUPHA's website lists all its undergraduate and graduate level member programs, indicating which bachelor's degree programs are certified by AUPHA and which master's degree programs are accredited by CAHME.