What is accreditation or should that be approval?

Why choose an accredited course, training provider or a therapist who has an accredited qualification?

When I started creating our Post Graduate Diploma Courses I didn’t know very much about accreditation or accrediting bodies. I was a member of a few professional bodies but probably couldn’t have articulated my reasons for joining. As I created courses I discovered the joys of accreditation and approval and have come to value the process enormously. If you are not so familiar with the different types of qualifications and providers…read on….. The Jennifer Young Training School offers accredited and approved courses only. We do not offer courses that are not accredited or approved by an independent professional body. Accreditation and approval are important to therapists and training providers alike. When working in a relatively new field with a vulnerable client group: third party verification is vital. It should not be a nice to have. I am very wary of organisations who do not have accreditation or approval. I love learning and am a course junkie. I need some reassurance of the validity of the course – maybe that’s the paranoia that comes with being a junkie? I have found the accreditation process testing and challenging – hugely testing and challenging and it has, without doubt, made our courses better. If I ask myself the question ‘What is the difference between an accredited course and one that is not?’ the answer is everything.

Below are some of the reasons to insist upon an accredited course

  • The course content and structure has verification from external experts – I have to justify our course content to others in terrifying detail – all course documents, lesion plans, assessments, suggested answers, role plays, learning activities, presentations and notes have to be submitted – for every single course.
  • Accredited courses have to match each part of the course to a pre-determined learning objective and test knowledge gained for each objective.
  • All tutors have to be qualified to teach as well as being expert in their field.
  • The training organisation has systems in place to guarantee appropriate learning – ensuring a range of methods are used that can be adapted (within certain parameters) to meet student learning styles.
  • There is a demonstrable emphasis on learning, rather than just teaching. A wide mix of assessments are in place to ensure that students have understood course content and can practice to an appropriate level.
  • Case studies are required. Case studies are vital to our learning.
  • We insist that our students work with those affected by cancer BEFORE they are formally qualified to do so. Our delegates have case study insurance. Often, we will invite models to the training courses so that the students have support when working with their new client group for the first time.
Accredited & approved training schools have to comply with all UK Health & Safety legislation – I know, it is perceived to be a pain BUT when working with immuno compromised clients* – it is more important than ever. In addition to looking after our clients, we have to look after our students – all tutors are first aid qualified and all have our accident book and first aid kit. We have to teach the delegates and meet them, observe them working and learning and make sure that we are there to offer support. Our accredited and approved courses do not rely on online learning and I am not sure that we would have been awarded accreditation or approval if we did – as I said, we have an emphasis on learning not on teaching. We can’t assess what had been learned unless we work with the students I could go on…..you might think that I have gone on enough already. Just a few more words about how to recognise an accrediting or approving body – the best way is to ask ‘Is it a professional body?’ ‘Does it have a paid membership?’ “Is it recognised by the industry? ‘Does it have a CPD system?’ ‘Is the accreditation procedure open and transparent? Is it clear what one has to do/submit in order to become accredited?’ if the answer to any of these questions in ‘No’ - Beware – it probably isn’t an organisation that offers true and unbiased accreditation and approval. Oh, I nearly forgot - what is the difference between approval and accreditation? I have no clue - one of our professional bodies approves our courses and disapproves of the word 'accredited'; the other accredits them. There is a technical answer to this question - a post for another day. *Thankfully the UK and EU requirements for control of cross infection are assessment based with an emphasis in law being placed upon elimination and control of risk rather than protection – this means that we have to adopt control measures relevant and appropriate to the client group – immuno-compromised we can do! Health and Safety legislation in the spa, salon or clinic is not a pain when working with those affected by cancer – it is an absolute life saving necessity.

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