If you’re considering a career in healthcare, you’ve probably seen the word “accredited” come up plenty of times. What does that mean? What makes a college accredited, and what’s the difference between national and regional accreditation? We’ll tell you.
Related resource: A Guide to Continuing Education in the Medical Field
Accreditation is an assurance of quality for an institution. It’s a way for outside parties to know that the education a college or university provides is rigorous, and that graduates have to actually earn their diplomas or certificates, not just purchase them.
It is possible to get a good education at a non-accredited institution, but it’s harder to verify because an outside organization does not vouch for them. You only have their word that the education they offer is comprehensive. A non-accredited school could provide great education, but it could also be a diploma mill where anyone with enough cash can say they studied there.
You might think that accreditation is something that the federal government or states are in charge of, but it isn’t. In the United States, individual states decide on what colleges and universities can operate within them. However, that’s not the same as accreditation. The states only decide which institutions can set up as businesses. Accreditation comes from nongovernmental academic entities.
The two major types of accreditation in the U.S. are national and regional, and they’re very different. Most large state schools are regionally accredited by seven organizations. The oldest, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), dates back to 1885. These organizations came into being so that high schools could better prepare students for college, and so students and educators would know which schools were meeting certain standards. The NEASC is no longer alone. Now, every part of the country has some kind of regional accreditation organization certifying institutions like big state schools and liberal arts colleges.
National accreditation is newer. Professional schools and trade schools are often nationally accredited by large organizations that oversee their quality. The U.S. Department of Education maintains a list of organizations that are authorized to offer national accreditation.
So, if you’re going to school to become a nurse, medical assistant, occupational therapy assistant, or dental laboratory technician do you go to a nationally or regionally accredited school? It’s complicated. Schools for specialized occupations like lawyers, dentists, or nurses are accredited by entities that oversee that specific field. You might have heard of national or state bar organizations for lawyers. State bars are only one model for self-regulating professions that oversee their members’ education and certification. Other jobs have them, too.
Related resource: 8 Tips for Passing the NCLEX-RN Exam
Being a college of healthcare, Joyce’s programs are accredited by four major organizations.
The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) has granted Joyce University institutional accreditation.
Joyce’s programs are also individually accredited by professional organizations. The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), and the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). These organizations have all determined that Joyce’s curriculum meets their standards, and that our graduates are well prepared for a successful career in healthcare.
Learn more about our Accreditations and Partnerships.