Posted on 29-May-17
Beware of Copycat Accreditations That Lack Integrity image

Not long ago, the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) was contacted about a certain international organization that was advertising its new continuing education and training accreditation program.  IACET’s staff examined the new organization’s website and found that a large portion of its content was copied verbatim from IACET’s website. IACET’s staff did an analysis of the plagiarized pages and found there was no chance the content could have been reproduced by chance.  It was not as if a few sentences were lifted from IACET’s site.  Numerous pages and the IACET Standard itself were inappropriately copied to create a new accreditation program that “sets high standards.”  

If your organization seeks an internationally recognized continuing education and training accreditation, what should you look for and be aware of?

  1. Look for an accreditation organization that is accountable to a recognized authority.  IACET is an accredited Standard Developer by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).  Being accredited by ANSI means IACET’s 2013-1 Standard for Continuing Education and Training is put through a rigorous process to ensure the integrity of the standard development process.

    IACET is also recognized and held accountable by numerous governmental regulatory agencies.  Providers can view a list here of numerous organizations that have recognized IACET accreditation.
  2. Legitimate organizations have existed for more than a few years.  While there is nothing inherently wrong with being new, providers should use caution and require appropriate credentials for new entities that provide accreditation. IACET was founded in 1968 and has a long and distinguished history in continuing education and training.
  3. Accrediting agencies should be appropriately registered with their government.  IACET is a registered 501c3 non-profit through the United States Internal Revenue Service.  A 501c3 designation requires that IACET make public certain data such as its tax return.  These requirements ensure those dealing with the organization have some basic understanding of how it is funded and its resources. A US registered non-profit is also operated by a Board of Directors that have a fiduciary responsibility for the organization.
  4. Beware of commercialized private accrediting services.  These organizations often have a name that sounds like an official non-profit but are really disguised for-profit organizations owned by an individual. Not all private organizations offering an accreditation are unscrupulous, but caution should be applied when dealing with private entities that do not provide satisfactory levels of transparency.   Avoid accreditation services that use a residential home as the mailing address for their office.
  5. Beware of accreditation providers that accredit based upon other accreditations.  While accreditations are valued assets, accreditation should stand on its own merit.  Organizations that provide a credential for previously earned credentials through other organizations are not providing a valid credential at all.
  6. Use an accreditation service that defends the integrity of its Standard. IACET sanctions providers who inappropriately use its accreditation logo or are found not to follow the Standard in learning events for which they offer CEUs.  IACET will also audit training providers to ensure compliance with the Standard.  Unscrupulous organizations will often avoid auditing processes because of the added cost and inconvenience to the paying customer.
  7. Invest in an accreditation that supports continuing education and training.  IACET does the hard work to compile standards and gain industry consensus.  IACET works to foster a strong community of continuing education and training professionals that advance the cause of quality.  Beware of artificial communities that offer little substance or potential to tackle the tough issues in an ever-changing field. IACET is tackling tough issues like competency-based training, micro-credentialing and much more.  IACET is proud to be advancing the profession and appreciates the support of all its worldwide members, providers, partners and sponsors.


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