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Glossary

Accreditation is granted when a program is in substantial compliance with the accreditation Standards and remains in effect until due process has demonstrated cause for its withdrawal. Only the CAAHEP Board of Directors has the authority to remove accreditation.

An Accreditation Record refers to all written materials available to CAAHEP documenting the program’s accreditation history.

Accreditation Standards qualitative and quantitative measures used in assessing a health science education program’s compliance with established national norms as described in a document called Standards and Guidelines for Educational Programs in (insert profession).

An Add-on Track is an additional competency statement added to an underlying concentration. At the programmatic level, an add-on track is not a stand-alone program and must be a part of an accredited underlying concentration.

Administrative Probation is applied to a program that has not complied with administrative requirements such as the payment of fees, the timely submission of reports, etc.

Adverse Accreditation Decision a CAAHEP action of Withhold Accreditation or Withdraw Accreditation.

A program may Appeal an accreditation decision if the decision resulted in a withdrawal or withhold of accreditation. The program sponsor must show that regarding CAAHEP’s decision: 1) the record does not support the decision; and/or 2) due process and proper procedure were not followed. Programs recommended for probation are not eligible for appeal nor are programs in an initial status of accreditation when that status is allowed to expire.

Appeal Panel Member an individual, recommended by the sponsor(s) of the Committee on Accreditation, who has knowledge of the relevant profession, is familiar with accreditation process, has a working knowledge of the appropriate Standards as well as the type of institution sponsoring the health science education program, and has no relationship past or present with the program sponsor or the accreditation process leading to the decision being appealed.

The CAAHEP Board of Directors is responsible for approval of all accreditation recommendations and each set of Standards and Guidelines to which all CAAHEP accredited programs must adhere. Members of the Board are elected for three-year terms from amongst the Commissioners at the annual Commission meeting.

CAAHEP is not involved in the Certification of individuals. Certification refers to the passing of an exam by an individual upon completion of an educational program to “show” competency in their chosen profession.

The Commission is the governing entity of CAAHEP comprised of approximately 108 members (Commissioners). The majority of Commissioners represent either a CoA or a Sponsoring Organization. The remaining Commissioners represent deans of 4 year and 2 year colleges. Additionally, the Commission also has three appointed public members, one of whom represents recent graduates of accredited programs. Two of the public members serve both on the Commission and on the Board of Directors. 

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) currently accredits over 2200 education programs in 30 health sciences fields. CAAHEP is an accreditor of programs at the entry level of each profession. CAAHEP was formed in 1994. Its predecessor organization was the Committee on Allied Health Education and Accreditation CAHEA. CAHEA was part of the American Medical Association (AMA). CAAHEP is a Section 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.

There are 23 Committees on Accreditation (CoA) that participate in the CAAHEP system of accreditation. They work in cooperation with CAAHEP by managing the accreditation process in their respective professions and then forwarding recommendations for accreditation to CAAHEP. They are also responsible for providing CAAHEP with the draft language for Standards and Guidelines for their specific profession.

Complaint a written and signed allegation received by CAAHEP and the CoA alleging that they or an accredited program are not following established Commission policies or accreditation Standards.

Concentrations refer to specialties within a profession that have separate and independent minimum competency statements. For instance, a Diagnostic Medical Sonography program may offer concentrations in general, cardiac or vascular sonography

Continuing Accreditation is awarded after a program has already been initially accredited and then subsequently reviewed by the CoA at specified intervals. Continuing accreditation remains in place until the CAAHEP Board votes otherwise. Continuing accreditation is not time limited.

The Awarded refers to the “degree” awarded upon completion of the program (Diploma, Certificate, Associate Degree, and Baccalaureate Degree). The type of degree offered is dependent on the type of institution within which the program is housed.

Distance education is defined as a formal educational process in which the majority of synchronous and asynchronous instruction occurs when student and instructor are not in the same place. Distance education includes, but is not limited to, correspondence study or audio, video and/or computer/internet technologies.

Distance Education Program is defined as the delivery of the complete program that allows the completion of the entire curriculum without the need to attend any instruction on a campus location. (Note: this delivery is not hybrid or partial e-learning delivery.)

Guidelines are descriptions, examples, or recommendations that elaborate on the Standards. Guidelines are not required, but can assist with interpretation of the Standards. CoAs develop language for Guidelines as well as Standards; the CAAHEP Board approves and adopts Guidelines as well as Standards. TheStandards and Guidelines document published by CAAHEP for each profession includes all the Standards and all the Guidelines. 

Inactive status may be requested at any time. While a program is inactive, they retain their accreditation but they may not have any students matriculating in the program. A program may remain in inactive status for up to two years. At the end of two years the program must either re-activate or voluntarily withdrawal from the CAAHEP system of accreditation. Programs that are in an initial status of accreditation may not request an inactive status.

Initial Accreditation refers to the first time a program receives accreditation in the CAAHEP system of accreditation. It is granted only after a program has demonstrated substantial compliance with CAAHEP Standards. A program is only awarded initial accreditation once and each subsequent accreditation award is then referred to as "continuing."

Initial accreditation is time limited and is for a period of either three years or five years, depending upon the policy of the specific Committee on Accreditation (CoA) that is making the recommendation to the CAAHEP Board of Directors. At the end of the allotted time, the program may be recommended for continuing accreditation or probationary accreditation. If no such recommendation is forthcoming, the Initial Accreditation will automatically expire and the program will no longer be considered CAAHEP accredited. A program may request reconsideration of a CoA’s decision to allow Initial Accreditation to expire. However, the CoA’s decision is final and not appealable to the CAAHEP Board of Directors.

Withdrawal of Accreditation occurs when a program is no longer in compliance with the accreditation Standards and all attempts to remedy the deficiencies have failed.

Probation is a temporary status of accreditation for programs that are not currently in substantial compliance with the accreditation Standards but are expected to be able to meet them within a specified time.

CAAHEP is a Programmatic Accreditor. This means that CAAHEP reviews programs not institutions. Each program that wishes to achieve CAAHEP accreditation must apply for and receive accreditation separately.

Proprietary Institutions are “for profit” corporations that offer educational programs. These corporations frequently have campuses across the country.  As with all of CAAHEP’s accreditations, each program at each institution campus must apply for and receive its own accreditation status.

Reconsideration a CoA’s second consideration of a status of public recognition recommendation, based on the conditions that existed when the Committee on Accreditation formulated its original recommendation and on subsequent documented evidence of corrected deficiencies at the time of the second consideration. Reconsideration must be offered when a CoA is planning on forwarding a recommendation of probation, withhold, and/or withdraw accreditation. A request for reconsideration does not guarantee or imply that the CoA will ultimately change their recommendation to CAAHEP. Programs that are in an initial status of accreditation may also request reconsideration if they are notified by the CoA that their status is going to be allowed to expire.

Satellite program is an off-campus location(s) that is advertised or otherwise made known to individuals outside the sponsor. The off-campus location(s) must offer all of the professional didactic and laboratory content of the program. A satellite does not pertain to the sites used by completing on-line/distance education program for individual students. Satellite(s) are included in the CAAHEP accreditation of the sponsor and function under the direction of the Key Personnel of the program. Committees on Accreditation may establish additional requirements that are consistent with CAAHEP Standards and policies.

Sponsoring Organizations are associations of professionals that, among their many activities, sponsor CAAHEP and CoAs. Some associations sponsor more than one CoA.

Standard is a requirement that educational programs must meet to be accredited.

Transfer of Sponsorship is requested by an institution/school/college when they intend to turn over management and administrative responsibility for an accredited program to a different entity. The new sponsoring institution is fully responsible for assuring that the program continues to comply with the CAAHEP Standards and Guidelines.

Voluntary Withdrawal of Accreditation occurs when a sponsoring institution requests that its program(s) be removed from the CAAHEP system of accreditation. A program may voluntarily withdraw from the CAAHEP system of accreditation at any time.

Withhold of Accreditation occurs when a program seeking initial accreditation is not in compliance with the accreditation Standards making it impossible for the CoA is to forward a positive accreditation recommendation.

Organizational Acronyms

Association of Professional and Specialized Accreditors - ASPA.  ASPA is the professional association of accrediting bodies.

Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions - ASAHP.  ASAHP represents four year institutions on the CAAHEP Board of Directors.

Council for Higher Education- CHEA.  CHEA is the "accreditor" of CAAHEP.

Health Resources and Services Administration- HRSA.  HRSA has provided CAAHEP with a contract to address emergency preparedness in our Standards and Guidelines.

National Network of Health Career Programs in Two Year Colleges- NN2.  NN2 represents two year institutions on the CAAHEP Board of Directors.

United States Department of Education - USDE.  CAAHEP is no longer recognized by USDE but is instead recognized by CHEA.  CAAHEP chose to no longer seek recogntition from the USDE.

Committee on Accreditation Profession Acronyms:

Advanced Cardiovascular Sonography - ACS

Anesthesia Technology Education - ATE

Anesthesiologist Assistant - AA

Art Therapist - AT

Assistive Technology - RATE

Specialist in Blood Banking - BB or SBBT

Cardiovascular Technology - CVT

Clinical Research Professional - CRP

Cytotechnology - CYTO

Diagnostic Medical Sonography - DMS

Emergency Medical Services - Paramedic - EMSP or EMS-P

Exercise Physiology - EP

Exercise Science - ES

Intraoperative Neurophysologic Monitoring - INOM

Kinesiotherapy - KT

Lactation Consultant - LC

Medical Assisting - MA

Medical Illustrator - MI

Medical Scribe Specialist - MSS

Neurodiagnostic Technology - NDT

Orthotic and Prosthetic Technician - O&PT

Orthotics and Prosthetics - O&P

Orthotic/Prosthetic Assistant - OPA

Pedorthist - PED

Perfusion - PE

Personal Fitness Training - PFT

Polysomnography - PSG

Recreational Therapy - RT

Specialist in Blood Banking Technology - BB or SBBT

Surgical Assistant - SA

Surgical Technology - ST