Why ABHES and CAAHEP Accreditation Matter icon

Why ABHES and CAAHEP Accreditation Matter

| NurseJournal Staff

In order to work in the field of medicine as a certified nurse assistant, certified medical assistant, licensed practical nurse, licensed vocational nurse or registered nurse, you must first pass an examination relating to that field, such as the NCLEX-PN, the NCLEX-RN or the CMA/AAMA. Additionally, you must be committed to your continuous professional development, and proof of this will allow you to extend your license over the years. Although it is possible to take some of these examinations with non-accredited training, this is incredibly rare. Additionally, only accredited programs can give you the necessary credits for your continuous professional education.


The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) is one of the largest accreditation programs in the field of health sciences. They work together with their Committees on Accreditation, whose role it is to review various educational programs. At present, they have reviewed 2000 different programs across 26 different occupations in the health sciences. They have also been recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and they are a member of  the Association of Specialized & Professional Accreditors (ASPA).

What Is ABHES?

The Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) has delivered health education accreditation for more than four decades. They have had official recognition by the U.S. Secretary of Education since 1968 as a private, non-profit and independent agency. Their role has always been to enhance the quality of healthcare education across the country. Besides improving on nursing education quality, they also promote program accountability. They do this by evaluating every program in a systematic manner. Any program accredited through ABHES must meet certain standards. Additionally, program delivery institutions work together with ABHES to improve these programs even more. There are three main areas of focus of ABHES and these are: resources, recognition and service.

Why Is ABHES and CAAHEP Accreditation Important?

Very simply put, accreditation proves that an institution, service or program complies with a certain standard. This is measured against predetermined standards of excellence. There are two types of accreditation when it comes to post-secondary education and training, and these are institutional accreditation and programmatic (specialized) accreditation. In terms of institutional accreditation, it shows students that the school they want to go to delivers high standards across the board, particularly in resources, administration, facilities and faculty. Programmatic accreditation is perhaps more important, as it looks at individual programs inside a certain school. The standards these have to meet are far higher and have to demonstrate that, upon completion, a student will have all the skills and knowledge they need to be competent in a certain profession. Within the health related field, accreditation is also important for the general public. Just as a license to practice tells people that their healthcare provider is competent at delivering health care services, a degree from an accredited school and accredited program is equally important. This is one of the main reasons why ABHES and CAAHEP accreditation matter.

What Accreditation Isn’t

An accredited program is a program that has been reviewed. This means that the accreditation body looks at a full service, institution or program but not at an individual. Individuals, on the other hand, become registered, licensed or certified. CAAHEP and ABHES accreditation does not have anything to do with licensure, registration or certification of individual healthcare students.

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