Why accreditation?

Spring 2009

It's been seven years, and once again you're up for an accreditation review. Nostalgia sets in. It seems like only yesterday that your school was scrutinized and your faculty questioned by what appeared to be a particularly nitpicky site team. Accreditation can be an arduous affair with as much charm as a tax audit. Why bother?

Accreditation of veterinary academic institutions in the United States has been in place for more than 100 years. There are about 6,300 institutions with accredited status. But there is more to accreditation than being a member of this exclusive group.

In its essence, accreditation is about quality assurance and quality improvement. It is about providing students an opportunity to study and strive to become the best veterinarians, who will provide top-notch health care and service to the public -- veterinarians who are prepared to protect the public safety and serve the public interest. Accreditation improves quality of life and promotes excellence.

Improving society is a noble and worthy cause, and reason enough to seek accreditation; however, there are many other benefits as well.

Accreditation is a barometer studied by people we want to impress, especially those from whom we receive money, such as the federal government. We all want to get the most for our money; accreditation helps Uncle Sam do just that.

Others are guided by accreditation, too. Potential employers use it when evaluating the credentials of job applicants. And most state boards require graduation from an accredited school or certification of educational equivalence in order to practice in their state. Accreditation also indicates to the public that the highest standards are in place.

This brings us back to quality. Accreditation ensures quality education and allows the public to enjoy the highest standard of veterinary care.


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