Medical Assisting Programs Receive Programmatic Accreditation
Apr 21, 2014
When Heather Moore graduates this spring with her associate’s degree from the medical assisting program at the Parkersburg Campus, she’ll enter the workforce with confidence in the quality of the education that she received thanks to the program’s recent accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
Heather came to the Parkersburg Campus shortly after it opened in 2011, and today is working in an externship at Therapy Health, and Fitness as she nears the conclusion of her program. Externships such as the one that Heather is participating in are one of the many components which are reviewed by the Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB) when evaluating a program for accreditation by CAAHEP.
The medical assisting programs at the Fort Wayne and South Bend Campuses have also received accreditation by CAAHEP after extensive reviews by the MAERB. The medical assisting programs at the Charlottesville, Columbus, Cleveland, Danville (VA), Harrisonburg, Lynchburg, Martinsville, Nashville and Richmond Campuses were also recently reviewed by the MAERB and have been reaccredited by CAAHEP.
CAAHEP, the largest programmatic accreditor in the health care field, reviews and accredits educational programs in over twenty health science occupations. “CAAHEP has a complete set of standards in which the student must be taught, evaluated and mastered for a program to be accredited,” explained Madeline Jones, institutional director of allied health for the Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia campuses of American National University and National College. “The accreditation process requires us to comply with a set of rigorous protocols and research-based processes for evaluating the effectiveness of our program. The process is a voluntary method of quality assurance designed to ensure students in medical assisting programs acquire the knowledge and skills they need for entry into practice.”
Of course, every American National University and National College campus has been institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Council of Independent Colleges & Schools. While our ACICS accreditation applies to all of the degree and diploma programs offered by the college, programmatic accreditation is an optional, additional level applicable only to specific degree programs. Many programs, due to their highly technical nature, benefit from program-specific review and approval by specialized accrediting bodies. The medical assisting program is an example of such a program, and it is National’s policy to pursue CAAHEP accreditation for all of the medical assisting programs.
The director of healthcare education at each campus works closely with the MAERB during the accreditation review. Leah Lane, director of healthcare education at the Parkersburg Campus, said that the MAERB’s review of the program was very structured and regimented. “They go through it with a fine tooth comb,” said Leah, who worked as a trauma nurse for over 20 years before she began working at ANU.
Paula Beth Ciolek, director of healthcare education at the Richmond Campus, has worked in the medical field for 35 years, and said that her experience and credentials, as well as those of her faculty, were evaluated by the MAERB during the accreditation audit. In addition, curriculum, lab equipment, and community involvement are also reviewed.
Beverly Lemaster, a student in the medical assisting program at the Richmond Campus, said that the that the experience and knowledge that Paula Beth brings to the classroom, as well as the reaccreditation of the program, ensures that she is well prepared for her career. “She’s teaching us what we need before we get out there in the workforce,” she said. “She’s there beside us the whole time. She makes sure that we’re doing it right.”
A-Paula Beth Ciolek (r), director of healthcare education, is shown with medical assisting students at the Richmond Campus. Paula Beth worked closely with the MAERB team during the campus's evaluation for reaccreditation.
B-Leah Lane, director of health care education at the Parkersburg Campus, worked as a trauma nurse for more than 20 years before she began working at ANU.