Module One: Specialized Accrediting Agencies

Specialized Accrediting Agencies

In addition to regional accrediting agencies, the U. S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) recognize many specialized accrediting agencies within the United States. The purpose of these accreditors is to share best practices and perform peer review evaluation of specialized and professional programs.

Specialized program-based accreditation is awarded to a specific program, school, or college within an institution. These specialized reviews are done by non-governmental, private agencies that are knowledgeable about a particular field of study. This is different from institutional accreditation, which examined an entire school because specialized accreditation focuses on the particulars of one field of study to make sure students are fully prepared to transition into the workplace. For example, the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET) accredits programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and technology within various colleges and universities. If students plan to become a computer engineer, they might limit their search to programs with this accreditation. If they plan to become a teacher, they do not need to worry whether a university’s computer engineering program has specialized ABET accreditation.

A complete list from the CHEA can be found at the Directory of Programmatic Accreditation. Below are just a few.
  • Engineering Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization that accredits college and university programs in the disciplines of applied science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology. ABET accredits over 3,100 programs at more than 660 colleges and universities in 23 countries. ABET provides specialized, programmatic accreditation evaluating an individual program of study rather than evaluating an institution as a whole.

  • American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) is the professional association for the field of marriage and family therapy. It represents the professional interests of more than 50,000 marriage and family therapists throughout the United States, Canada and abroad.  

  • American Chemical Society (ACS) is a congressionally chartered independent membership organization which represents professionals at all degree levels and in all fields of chemistry and sciences that involve chemistry.  

  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) is a global, nonprofit membership organization of educational institutions, businesses, and other entities devoted to the advancement of management education. Established in 1916, AACSB International provides its members with a variety of products and services to assist them with the continuous improvement of their business programs and schools.  

  • Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME), an interdisciplinary group of educational, professional, clinical, and commercial organizations is devoted to accountability and quality improvement of education for healthcare management and administration professionals. CAHME serves the public by promoting, evaluating, and improving the quality of graduate healthcare management education in the United States and Canada.  

  • Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) is a nonprofit national association representing more than 2,500 individual members, as well as graduate and undergraduate programs of professional social work education. Founded in 1952, this partnership of educational and professional institutions, social welfare agencies, and private citizens is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation as the sole accrediting agency for social work education in this country.  

  • The basic purposes of the International Association of Counseling Services (IACS) are to encourage and aid counseling services throughout the United States and internationally to meet high professional standards, to inform the public about those which are competent and reliable, and to foster communication among counseling services operating in a variety of settings. Accreditation is open to university and four-year college counseling services.  

  • National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) is the premier source of knowledge, professional development, and resources, empowering school psychologists to ensure that all children and youth attain optimal learning and mental health.  

  • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) is the profession’s mechanism to help establish high quality teacher preparation. Through the process of professional accreditation of schools, colleges and departments of education, NCATE works to make a difference in the quality of teaching and teacher preparation today, tomorrow, and for the next century. NCATE’s performance-based system of accreditation fosters competent classroom teachers and other educators who work to improve the education of all P-12 students. NCATE believes every student deserves a caring, competent, and highly qualified teacher.

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