What to Know About Accreditation for Your Health Science Program
As a health science curriculum developer, we regularly speak with teachers who are adding new certifications to their pathway.
When implementing new health science certifications, these teachers often ask us questions such as: “Is HealthCenter21 accredited?” and “How do I get my course accredited?”
While many accredited health science programs use our HealthCenter21 curriculum to prepare their students for certification exams, AES is not a certifying body and cannot award accreditation to CTE programs.
But don’t worry - that doesn’t mean we can’t help you!
In this article, you’ll learn the basics of accreditation and how to get accreditation for your health science program.
What Is Accreditation and Why Does It Matter?
Accreditation is the process of a non-government, third-party agency recognizing that an organization has met predetermined standards and criteria within a particular industry.
It applies to an entire company, institution, or association, not to an individual professional, and most often denotes safety, efficiency, or validity.
In some instances, third-party accreditors can gain so much influence over a sector that their approval becomes a de-facto requirement.
As a CTE health science instructor, there are two types of accreditation to know about: Certification Program Accreditation and Education Program Accreditation.
Let’s look at these two types of accreditation in a little more detail...
What Is Certification Program Accreditation?
Certification program accreditation focuses on the quality of the certifications available and ensures they meet the standards required for an industry professional.
For many health science certification providers, the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) acts as the impartial, third-party that awards accreditation to certification programs.
According to the NCCA: “Accreditation for professional or personnel certification programs provides impartial, third-party validation that your program has met recognized national and international credentialing industry standards for development, implementation, and maintenance of certification programs.”
Overall, certification program accreditation ensures that the certification provider you choose meets recognized industry standards as a certifying body.
What Is Education Program Accreditation?
Education program accreditation focuses on quality of instruction, institutional structure, and whether students in the program will learn the appropriate knowledge and skills for the designated profession.
To be eligible to take a certification exam, students must take an accredited course in their health science pathway.
The certification provider you work with is responsible for rewarding course accreditation based on their requirements for the pathway you teach.
Overall, education program accreditation is required for any health science program that wants to offer industry certifications to students.
How Do I Get My Health Science Program Accredited?
Once you’ve identified the certification you want to add to your program, it’s time to ensure your program meets the certification provider’s standards for accreditation.
In our experience, we’ve heard it’s relatively easy for teachers to gain accreditation for NHA, NOCTI, and NCCT exams. Depending on which provider you use, the steps and details on gaining accreditation may vary.
Unfortunately, we’ve found that health science certification providers include little information about their requirements for accreditation on their websites.
Because of this, you will need to contact your certification provider to learn the requirements for getting your program accredited.
Your certification provider’s agents will be able to walk you through the process of accreditation for your health science program.
Next Steps for Getting Your Students Certified
After reading this article, you should have a better understanding of what accreditation means and your next step to getting your program accredited.
Do you want to learn more about helping your students prepare for health science certifications? Check out these resources:
About Laura Posey
Laura empathizes with teachers daily and communicates pain points to the AES team to consider how they can be addressed. She also creates content for how-tos, use cases, and the Facebook community. In addition, Laura conducts training sessions on how AES can help teachers succeed.