Myths and Realities About Accreditation
Myth: Students who attend accredited programs are themselves accredited.
Reality: MEAC accreditation is a process for midwifery education programs or institutions, not for individual midwives. Certification, licensure or registration are the processes which credential individual midwives.
Myth: MEAC accreditation enables students attending MEAC accredited programs to apply for federal financial aid.
Reality: In order for students to have access to educational grants and loans from the federal government, the program or institution they attend must be approved in two steps:
1. The program/institution must be accredited by a federally recognized accrediting agency and,
2. The program must submit an application directly to the U.S. Department of Education to be approved to participate in Title IV student financial aid programs.
After both of these steps have been successfully completed by the institution or program, its students can then apply for financial aid.
Myth: MEAC will only accredit midwifery programs/institutions that are based on the traditional classroom model of education.
Reality: MEAC has developed accreditation processes that honor a diversity of educational models including structured apprenticeships, distance education, self-paced programs, programs within large institutions, non-profit schools and small private schools.
Myth: MEAC accreditation is a critical process; programs/institutions will be easily rejected if they do not meet rigorous and unreasonable requirements.
Reality: Accreditation is a self-evaluation process which helps educational entities evaluate their programs according to their own goals, and to educate midwives according to basic standards set by Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA), and North American Registry of Midwives (NARM). The process includes support and guidance from MEAC for program clarification, development, and improvement. Programs that do not initially meet all MEAC standards are given technical assistance and opportunities to correct weaknesses.
Myth: MEAC accreditation is a process that forces all midwifery programs to conform to a single version of midwifery curriculum.
Reality: Accreditation provides an opportunity for each program/institution to develop its unique perspective and design in midwifery education. There is no formula for midwifery education imposed, other than that graduates have mastered the core competencies defined by MANA and have met the required clinical experiences for NARM certification. Each program will implement these requirements within its unique educational environment to best suit the needs of its students.
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