Program Accreditation ‘PART ONE’

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Featured Image: Amphitrite Point Uclelet, BC

3260 Professional Practice Blog (Week 6)

I want to talk about program accreditation because it’s important to appreciate an institution’s commitment to their learners, their faculty and support staff, and the public.  I do not think most people know how much preparation and hard-work is involved in offering a program in which validity is the focus. Learner outcomes are strict especially in vocational programs because certification and licensing of the student is at stake, with the major stakeholder being public trust. I want to talk about Okanagan College’s Certified Dental Assisting program because it is where I received my certification. I am not a faculty member of the college; I am simply a proud alumna. I explain on my ‘about’ page what is involved in maintaining a license to practice as a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) in British Columbia, and I was impressed to learn from a colleague and a faculty member of Okanagan College’s Certified Dental Assisting department how much is involved in receiving and maintaining an accredited program designation:

– The Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada (CDAC) is an external organization that “evaluates oral health educational programs and health facilities to determine eligibility for and grant accreditation” (CDAC, 2018).

– For dental assisting programs, The CDAC retrieves its standards from The National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NDAEB). “The NDAEB’s mission is to assure individuals have met the current national baseline standard in the knowledge and skills required by Canadian provincial or territorial regulatory authorities for recognition as an intra-oral dental assistant” (NDAEB, 2018).

– Accreditation requirements involve every aspect of a program from admissions to relationships with regulatory bodies (College of Dental Surgeons of BC).

The institution submits the CDAC report to the Province of British Columbia’s Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills, and Training. The ministry uses this information to grant an Education Quality Assurance (EQA) designation.  “An EQA designation ensures quality standards that are above and beyond: Institutions carrying the EQA designation meet criteria beyond what’s required by legislation, regulatory bodies and accreditation processes. This means:

  • Students can be assured they will receive a minimum standard of educational quality
  • The institution also meets legislated requirements
  • The institution is in good standing with related education bodies
  • The institution meets EQA suitability requirements and is abiding by the EQA Standards of Conduct” (Government of BC, 2018, para. 3).

Now, you’re probably asking yourself, are there non-accredited dental assisting programs?

To be Continued . . .

References:

CDAC. (2018). About CDAC. Retrieved from https://www.cda-adc.ca/cdacweb/en/about_CDAC/

Government of BC. (2018). Education Quality Assurance. Retrieved from https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/post-secondary-education/institution-resources-administration/education-quality-assurance

NDAEB. (2018). National Dental Assisting Examining Board. Retrieved from http://www.ndaeb.ca

Program Accreditation ‘PART TWO’

3260 Professional Practice Blog (Week 6)

A dental assisting program that is not accredited cannot grant a certification designation to dental assistants. What this means is that the dental assistant cannot perform any intra-oral duties (inside the oral cavity). For example, a non-certified dental assistant cannot take x-rays, or polish teeth. There are too many restrictions to list. This link provides a list of duties that a CDA can perform: Canadian Dental Assisting Legal Scope of Practice,(CDAA, 2016).  So, it is really important for a potential CDA to ensure that the institution of their choice is accredited, and believe it or not, of the 11 dental assisting programs in British Columbia, 2 are non-accredited. I’m confused as to why a person would register in a non-accredited program . . .

A publicly funded institution, like Okanagan College, solicits an assessment every 3 years (new program) or 7 years (established program) from the CDAC. My colleague who teaches at Okanagan College shared that the program was last assessed in 2013 by the CDAC. The accreditation package is lengthy and extremely comprehensive; it can be found on the CDAC website (CDAC, 2018). The staff begin working on recommendations immediately, and they also begin preparing for the next assessment which will be in 2020.

To be honest, the accreditation process of dental assisting programs is new information for me, and I am very impressed with the program’s commitment to the profession. All staff must have a vested interest in learner success, in the program’s success, and ultimately in the institution’s success as well!

References:

CDAA. (2016). Canadian Dental Assisting Legal Scope of Practice by Province – 2016. Retrieved from http://www.cdaa.ca/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Canadian-Dental-Assisting-Legal-Scope-of-Practice-2016.pdf

CDAC. (2018). Dental Assisting. Retrieved from https://www.cda-adc.ca/cdacweb/en/accreditation_requirements/dental_assisting/

 

Screen Shot 2018-02-18 at 5.10.45 PM Follow the link in the above image’s caption to learn about the historic lighthouse. I love lighthouses, they remind me of safety and trust.