Marlborough, MA, May 6, 2008
Accreditation for Allied Health Schools and Programs
Accreditation is a process of peer review of educational institutions by independent, non-governmental, accrediting agencies to assure the quality of the institution and the programs that it offers. Understanding the accreditation status of educational institutions that offer allied health programs of study is a critical part of the school/program evaluation process for any prospective student.
There are two types of accreditation in the United States:
- Institutional accreditation which may be provided by a regional, national, or specialized accrediting body.
- Specialized or programmatic accreditation which provides accreditation for a specific program of study.
For most schools offering allied health education programs there will typically be both an institutional and one or more specialized accreditations. Sometimes the specialized accrediting body can provide both institutional and program accreditation.
It is very important for a prospective student to obtain their education from an accredited institution/program that is recognized by the U.S Department of Education (USDE). It improves the availability of financial aid and acceptance of the education by potential employers (see "Checking Accreditation Status" later in this document).
Regional, National, and Specialized Institutional Accrediting Agencies
The following regional, national, or specialized accrediting agencies may provide accreditation to schools that provide allied health programs of study:
- Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
- Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools - focused on allied health schools
- Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology
- Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training
- Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools
- American Dental Association, Commission on Dental Accreditation
- American Dietetic Association, Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education
- American Optometric Association, Accreditation Council on Optometric Education
- Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation
- Council on Occupational Education
- Distance Education and Training Council, Accrediting Commission
- Joint Review Committee on Educational Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology
- Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Higher Education
- Middle States Commission on Secondary Schools
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Technical and Career Institutions
- New York State Board of Regents, and the Commissioner of Education
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission
- North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement, Board of Trustees
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Schools
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities
Please note: All of the above are recognized by the USDE.
Specialized or Programmatic Accreditation for Allied Health Education Programs
The following accrediting bodies provide accreditation for the indicated areas of allied health study:
- CHEA = Council for Higher Education Accreditation
- USDE = U.S. Department of Education
The U.S. Department of Education offers a database that allows individuals to check on the accreditation status of a specific institution and program of study. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation also has a similar database. Never simply take the word of the institution. It is important to check the most current status of an educational institution's accreditation. See: