The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) is a programmatic postsecondary accrediting agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). CAAHEP carries out its accrediting activities in cooperation with 25 review Committees on Accreditation.
CAAHEP's origin begins with the American Medical Association Council on Medical Education (CME). The CME developed a rating system of medical schools in 1905 and collaborated with the Carnegie Foundation to conduct a study of the quality of medical education that resulted in the Flexner Report in 1910. From 1935 to 1976, the AMA Council on Medical Education was the agency responsible for accrediting health profession programs in the United States. In 1976, the CME delegated the responsibility and authority for health sciences education accreditation to the newly formed Committee on Allied Health Education and Accreditation (CAHEA). In October 1992, the AMA announced its support for the establishing a new and independent agency to assume the accreditation responsibilities of CAHEA. That new agency, the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), was incorporated in May 1994 as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.
The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) is the only non-governmental higher education organization in the United States that engages in and awards recognition to institutional and programmatic accrediting organization. Much like the accrediting process conducted by the CAAHEP, CHEA periodically reviews CAAHEP's effectiveness in assuring and improving quality in higher education. CHEA's recognition of CAAHEP is assurance that CAAHEP is competent to engage in quality review of programs based on the CHEA Standards.
CHEA-Recognized Scope of CAAHEP Accreditation
Accredits certificate, diploma, associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in the following disciplines: advanced cardiovascular sonographer, anesthesia technologist, anesthesiologist assistant, art therapist, assistive technology practitioners, cardiovascular technologist, clinical research professionals, cytotechnologist, diagnostic medical sonographer, emergency medical services-paramedic, exercise science professional, kinesiotherapist, lactation consultant, medical assistant, medical illustrator, neurodiagnostic technologist, orthotist and prosthetist, perfusionist, polysomnographic technologist, recreational therapist, specialist in blood bank technology, surgical assistant and surgical technologist. CAAHEP accredits programs in the United States and internationally. (2020)
The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs is comprised members from its communities of interest, including sponsoring organizations, educational institutions, recent graduates, hospital-based programs, and the public. Each member or member group provides a representative to CAAHEP, who serves as a Commissioner.
The CAAHEP Board of Directors is elected by and from those serving as CAAHEP Commissioners. The Board is the accrediting body of CAAHEP that awards or denies accreditation after reviewing accreditation recommendations made by the Committees on Accreditation. It is also the primary governing body that oversees the business of CAAHEP and implements the mission and vision as adopted by the Commission.
Commissioners of CAAHEP represent their organization's or member group's interest in CAAHEP. Most Commissioners are selected or appointed by the sponsoring organization except for Commissioners whom the Board of Directors appoints from the following categories:
The role of a Commissioner is to approve CAAHEP's bylaws, mission, and vision statements; determine whether an occupation is eligible to participate in the CAAHEP system; approve new sponsoring organizations and Committees on Accreditation; monitor the Board of Directors' development of accreditation standards and activities to assure the quality and equity of CAAHEP's accreditation practices; and seek to achieve national recognition as an accrediting agency through appropriate national and/or international recognized agencies as deemed necessary.