I often receive questions like the following about which organization accredits medical assisting programs:
I have always been under the impression that the American Association of Medical Assistants® [AAMA] accredits medical assisting programs. I was recently told that this is not the case. Could you please help me understand?
Let me begin by emphasizing that the AAMA does not accredit medical assisting programs.
There are two bodies that are legally authorized to accredit medical assisting programs: the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). The Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB) is a Committee on Accreditation (CoA) of CAAHEP. A CoA is a board or committee that—in conjunction with CAAHEP—takes responsibility for certain actions:
- Establishes accreditation standards (e.g., Standards and Guidelines for the Accreditation of Educational Programs in Medical Assisting (Standards)) for academic programs of an allied health profession
- Conducts site visits of programs seeking initial or continuing accreditation
- Determines compliance of programs with their established accreditation standards (e.g., Standards)
- Makes accreditation recommendations to the CAAHEP Board of Directors
CAAHEP is the legal entity that accredits allied health education programs.
The AAMA is a sponsoring organization of MAERB. A sponsoring organization is defined by the CAAHEP Policies and Procedures as follows:
502 Sponsoring Organizations. Sponsoring organization members are organizations or agencies that establish or support one or more Committees on Accreditation and support the CAAHEP accreditation system.
In conclusion, here are the three key takeaways:
- The AAMA is a sponsoring organization of MAERB.
- MAERB is a CoA of CAAHEP. MAERB and CAAHEP develop accreditation standards (which are noted in Standards) for medical assisting programs. MAERB evaluates the compliance of programs with the Standards and makes accreditation recommendations to CAAHEP.
- CAAHEP reviews the accreditation recommendations from MAERB and accredits medical assisting programs.