Public/community Health Education Professional Accreditation among Stand-alone Baccalaureate Programs
Background and Purpose: Formal training for health promotion practitioners often includes academic study in health education. Accreditation is an important quality assurance mechanism. One concern expressed during Council of Education for Public Health (CEPH) professional meetings is the capacity of stand-alone undergraduate programs in health education to meet the demands of accreditation. The purpose of this study was to determine the accreditation knowledge level among the program directors of stand-alone programs, and identify the perceived challenges, support for and value ascribed to accreditation among these programs operating without an affiliated graduate program. Methods: Thirtyfive undergraduate program coordinators identified via the 2009 American Association for Health Education (AAHE) directory completed a 21-item survey instrument. Results: Most program coordinators knew about undergraduate accreditation requirements (82.9%), but program coordinators of self-identified small programs had significantly more concerns about the availability of resources needed to successfully attain accreditation. Conclusion: It is important to consider and provide resources for successful attainment of accreditation among smaller undergraduate institutions. Information regarding this general concern will be important to both the CEPH and academic program coordinators as they move forward with the new stand-alone baccalaureate accreditation initiative.