Accreditation is about quality and accountability in education.
It is “the process of formal evaluation of an educational program, institution, or system against defined standards by an external body for the purposes of quality assurance and enhancement.”
And ultimately, accreditation is about ensuring the competency of a program’s graduates. This is particularly essential in the field of healthcare professionals.
Two Kinds of Accreditation
In post-secondary education and training, there are two kinds of accreditation.
- Institutional accreditation helps to assure potential students that a school is a sound institution.
- Programmatic accreditation conducts an in-depth assessment of specialized or professional programs to ensure that the education provided meets acceptable levels of quality.
Accreditors are private, nongovernmental organizations. The Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions (CoAEMSP) is a not-for-profit, peer driven organization that provides the accrediting activities for more than 750 paramedic programs nationwide on behalf of the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), the only nationally recognized accreditation organization for paramedic education.
Voluntary AEMT Accreditation by 2025
To advance the recommendations of the 2019 National EMS Scope of Practice Model and the 2021 National EMS Education Standards, CAAHEP plans to launch a voluntary programmatic accreditation at the Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (AEMT) level by January 1, 2025, and CoAEMSP will provide the accreditation services. CAAHEP and CoAEMSP will work closely with stakeholders to gather perspectives and recommendations on how best to implement the new option.
To achieve accreditation, a paramedic education program must comply with the CAAHEP Standards and Guidelines, which include:
- Program goals that are clearly established to provide a regular assessment of learning outcomes to ensure paramedics meet minimum expectations for knowledge, skills, and behavior.
- Program resources that are sufficient to meet the established program goals, including faculty and staff, curriculum and instructional materials, computer resources, finances, facilities and equipment, and clinical affiliates.
- Student Evaluation & Assessment that must be conducted on a recurrent basis and with sufficient frequency to provide both the students and program faculty with valid and timely indications of the student’s progress toward and achievement of key competencies, leading to safe clinical practice and public protection.
- Fair Practices that are designed to protect the health and safety of patients, students, faculty, and other participants associated with paramedic education activities, including disclosure, nondiscriminatory, record-keeping, and other legal compliance requirements.