- Accreditation is a form of independent, professional certification that focuses on schools and programs in a particular field. Accreditation of naturopathic and holistic medicine schools and programs therefore assures you and your parents that the school adheres to high quality standards--an important fact when it comes to dealing with people's health
Holistic and alternative medicine is a broad field, and it encompasses many types of practices. Naturopathic medicine is one such practice that people often associate with alternative medicine. Naturopathy focuses on using natural and holistic remedies as well as conventional medicine to treat the whole person (mind, body, and spirit), with an emphasis on finding and treating the underlying cause of whatever is ailing the patient. Naturopathic doctors are licensed physicians who have obtained a medical degree and have chosen to focus their study and practice in naturopathy.
There are other professionals that work in the field of alternative medicine who are not licensed physicians. Those interested in alternative medicines may study a specific area, such as herbalism, aromatherapy, or nutrition, and then work in a variety of settings to educate people on using these different methods to treat various issues they may have or to live a healthier lifestyle. They may find work as wellness coaches, nutritionists, holistic spa workers, meditation instructors, and others. Often these specializations can be studied as part of a degree in alternative or complementary medicine.
Accreditation is a form of independent, professional certification that focuses on schools and programs in a particular field. Accreditation of naturopathic and holistic medicine schools and programs therefore assures you and your parents that the school adheres to high quality standards--an important fact when it comes to dealing with people's health. Accreditation ensures the programs are delivered by qualified faculty and are constantly updated to follow the changes and meet the needs of the relevant industry or working world. Attending an accredited school or program is often thought to make you more competitive on the job market.
Accreditation in the US takes place at different levels. First you have governmental and other agencies that govern and recognize the accrediting bodies. The US Department of Education, the Council for Higher Education Association (CHEA) and the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors (ASPA) grant power to associations that oversee accreditation at the regional, institutional or program level.
Regional and Institutional: The US Department of Education recognizes 6 distinct higher educational regions, each of which is overseen by a different accrediting body. This is the type of accreditation most commonly referred to and is for a university or college as a whole, not for individual programs. Accreditation by these regional agencies isn't automatic: this is voluntary accreditation, and some of these agencies may also restrict the types of schools they will accredit, such as only degree-granting institutions. Depending on the kind of university or college it is (e.g., private, technical, etc.) it may also be accredited by institute-type specific agencies.
Specialized: Specialized accreditation is a type of national accreditation that focuses on specific areas of study and individual programs. This is sometimes called professional accreditation, because it means specific programs meet the national standards for that field of study. There are hundreds of specialized accrediting bodies in the US.
In naturopathic and holistic medicine fields there may also be accrediting bodies that do not have official Department of Education or CHEA approval, but still strive to promote and maintain the quality of programs.
When assessing quality, you can also look at whether a school or program has any memberships in, or endorsements by, discipline-specific professional associations (for example The American Holistic Health Association or AHHA) which reflect certain standards of quality, but this is not the same as official accreditation.
As well, naturopathic and holistic medicine practitioners receive professional certification as individuals, and when checking a school's credentials, don't forget to check whether the instructors are professionally certified and/or licensed.
Accrediting Agencies for holistic or alternative medical schools in the US
The Council on Naturopathic Medical Education
Location: Great Barrington, Massachusetts
Scope: The Council on Naturopathic Medical Education's accredits 4-year naturopathic colleges and programs in the United States and Canada. Students and graduates of CNME accredited programs are eligible to apply for the naturopathic licensing examinations administered by the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners (NABNE), and are generally eligible for state and provincial licensure in the US and Canada.
Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA)
Location: Evanston, Illinois
Scope: Accredits professional programs in massage therapy and bodywork at the degree, diploma and certificate levels.
Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES)
Location: Falls Church, Virginia
Scope: Accredits public and private postsecondary institutions in the United States which offer health care education leading to associate's degrees, diplomas and certificates.
The American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP) Certification and Accreditation Board
Location: Galveston, Texas
Scope: With members worldwide, AADP certifies and represents reputable chiropractors, naturopaths, acupuncturists and other "drugless" healthcare providers.
The American Naturopathic Certification Board (ANCB): administers a certification program for natural health professionals.
Check the accrediting bodies of these major schools and you will realize one important thing that they are accredited by one of these agencies mandated to streamline the practice.
Kindly also read this report: Five Alternative Medicine Schools Across the United States - What do...
Accreditation of Holistic Medical Schools
Accreditation of Holistic Medical Schools
Accreditation in the EU
In the European Union, the European Herbal & Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association has been accrediting Institutions offering herbal and traditional medicine programmes since 2002.
To achieve fully accredited status, Institutions need to demonstrate compliance with the EHTPA Core Curriculum and meet the criteria laid down in the Accreditation Handbook. Once a programme is fully accredited, graduates will gain entry to one or more Professional Associations.
EHTPA Professional Association members will accept graduates from EHTPA accredited programmes of the relevant tradition. Note however, that some Professional Associations may have additional entry criteria which help to confirm a recent graduate's fitness to practice. Graduates may, for example, be required to have an interview, provide a declaration about their health or provide details of any previous criminal convictions.
The EHTPA strongly recommends new graduates contact the Professional Association(s) they are interested in joining BEFORE graduation to ensure all relevant entry criteria can be met.
The EHTPA Accreditation Process provides information to Institutions wishing to seek EHTPA accredited status. With the uniformity a school can be in Cyprus or any jurisdiction and seeks for accreditation from any jurisdiction instead of its home country and is valid. Once the school or college is able to present accreditation certificate from any of these recognized bodies, the school in recognized.
You will realize that the Canadian college of Naturopathic Medical College is based in Canada but accredited by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education based in the US.
EHTPA Accredited Schools:
Lincoln College with validation by Lincoln University
BSc (Hons) Western Herbal Medicine
Post Graduate Diploma Professional Practice Herbal Medicine
Post Graduate Diploma Professional Practice Chinese Herbal Medicine
Post Graduate Diploma Professional Practice Ayurvedic Herbal Medicine
Bsc (Hons) Herbal Medicine - applications are not being accepted
Bsc (Hons) Chinese Herbal Medicine -applications are not being accepted
Northern College of Acupuncture with validation by Middlesex University
Post Graduate Diploma Chinese Herbal Medicine
MSc Chinese Herbal Medicine
BSc (Hons) Western Herbal Medicine
University of East London
BSc (Hons) Western Herbal Medicine (closed to new entrants)
The European Herbal and Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association accredits courses on behalf of all EHTPA Professional Associations. This enables graduates to apply for membership of an EHTPA professional association register having successfully completed an EHTPA accredited course. The EHTPA system of accreditation was endorsed by, and included in, the inital Steering Group Report to Government which recommended that a statutory register for herbal medicine practitioners be established.
It is anticipated that responsibility for approval of all courses leading to qualified practitioner status and registration of suitably qualified practitioners will transfer to the Health Care Professions Council Register in due course and following government legislation the EHTPA will be working with the HCPC to this end.
Accreditation in India.
B.H.M.S. Bachelor of Homoeopathic Medicine & Surgery, Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery, Bachelor of Naturopathy and Yogic Sciences (BNYS), Bachelor of Unani Medicine and Surgery are course recognized in alternative medicine. The degree is provided by UGC (University Grant Commission) and is valid for registration for medical practice in India. The practice is regulated by the Ministry of Ayush. The Ministry of AYUSH was formed on 9th November 2014 to ensure the optimal development and propagation of AYUSH systems of health care. Earlier it was known as the Department of Indian System of Medicine and Homeopathy (ISM&H) which was created in March 1995 and renamed as Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) in November 2003, with focused attention for development of Education and Research in Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy.
So accreditation in holistic medical programs is mostly done by recognized professional bodies.