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 . . .
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