The Seal of Approval
Academic accreditation may seem like a fairly mundane matter, but for something so seemingly mundane, it matters very much.
After a 3 year process after transitioning into the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington in 2012, the school has been awarded full accreditation by one of the most prestigious accreditation bodies in the world, the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). CEPH is an independent agency recognized by the US Department of Education to accredit schools of public health. The school's accreditation is set for a five-year period (through July 2020) after which periodic review for renewal will take place.
Accreditation is a process of validation in which colleges, universities, and schools of higher learning are stringently evaluated. The standards for accreditation are set by a peer review board (CEPH in this instance) whose members include faculty from various accredited colleges and universities. The board aids in the evaluation of each potential new school accreditation or the renewals of previously accredited colleges/schools.
With accreditation, doors are opened to additional funding. Accreditation assists in recruiting top faculty, staff, and students who wish to align with a school with an outstanding reputation. Graduating from an accredited school better positions students to compete successfully for the best career opportunities.
Indeed, accreditation assures students and prospective employers that an educational degree program has met stringent standards of quality. It ensures that graduates have received quality training and education and are capable of undertaking a broad range of professional responsibilities.
In general, there are three major implications for students making a choice between an accredited and a non-credited institution:
- Some employment is only open to graduates of CEPH-accredited public health schools or programs. The US Public Health Service, many US military public health jobs, and some state and local government agencies require that MPH-level jobs be filled with graduates of CEPH-accredited schools and programs.
- Some fellowships are only available to students attending CEPH-accredited schools and programs that are also members of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH), such as the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington.
- The National Board of Public Health Examiners, the body for the national credentialing exam for individuals who possess a graduate-level degree in public health, offers the exam only to graduates of accredited programs and schools.