Pre-accreditation and accreditation are voluntary processes between the education program or institution and the accrediting agency. The goal of accreditation is to provide quality education so when students graduate they are well prepared to become credentialed and practice their chosen profession. Accreditation assesses the quality of education relative to the national professional core competencies and standards of practice, student services, the financial stability of the institution, and other student safeguards.
ACCREDITATION ORGANIZATIONS FOR MIDWIVES
The two organizations in the United States that provide national accreditation for midwifery education programs are:
- The Midwifery Education Accreditation Council. Midwifery education programs accredited by MEAC fulfill the requirements for national certification by the North American Registry of Midwives.
- The Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education. Midwifery education programs accredited by ACME fulfill the requirements for national certification by the American College of Nurse-Midwives.
The US Department of Education recognizes select accrediting agencies as reliable authorities regarding the quality of education or training offered by the institutions or programs they accredit. Accreditation by a recognized accrediting agency allows institutions to participate in federal student aid programs. Both MEAC (Midwifery Education Accreditation Council) and ACME (Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education) are recognized by the US Department of Education. MEAC’s website explains how students benefit from attending an accredited program.
CHOOSING AN ACCREDITED MIDWIFERY EDUCATION PROGRAM
A program that is accredited:
- has met educational standards for the profession so that graduates know they have completed the academic and clinical requirements for national certification and licensing for the state in which the school’s home campus is located.
- has met administrative, financial and performance requirements.
- is in compliance with state educational laws and regulations including refund and teach-out policies in case the student withdraws or the school closes while students are in progress.
- teaches the philosophy and ethics of the profession.
- reports outcomes regarding student retention, graduation, national exam pass rates, and successful practice in the field.
- has a mechanism which includes the accreditation agency to address student concerns
Other benefits may include:
- access to federal financial aid if the school participates in Title IV funding
- easier transfer of credit for course content completion from one school to another which is similarly accredited
The US Department of Education has information online for consumers about accreditation: “Prepare for my future: Diploma Mills and Accreditation”. For more information on accreditation in the United States, please visit The US Department of Education.
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