Role & Value of NASAC Accreditation
Accreditation serves multiple roles and provides value to programs seeking
- NASAC accreditation standards can be used as guidance for creating a program meeting national standards when developing a program.
- The process of NASAC accreditation requires the program to engage in self assessment presenting the program with the occasion to evaluate its program goals, curriculum, and strengths and weakness.
- Peer evaluation of programs creates an opportunity for program members to receive feedback from educators of similar programs.
- Programs that are NASAC accredited can demonstrate to key stakeholders (students, legislator, future employers, and others) that their program meets national standards.
- NASAC accreditation contributes to the possibility of increasing the
standardization of the academic requirements for the addiction profession.
Assisting in Program Development
Colleges and universities considering establishing an addiction studies focused program will find the NASAC accreditation information useful when outlining the curriculum, developing courses, and setting standards for their program. NASAC accreditation standards were developed with input from the professional field represented by NAADAC and the academic world represented by INCASE. This collaboration contributes to the continued growth of knowledge in the field and ensures that programs using the accreditation standards as a guideline will have a curriculum meeting national standards for the profession.
Self-Assessment Improves Programs
Each program seeking accreditation must complete a self-assessment evaluating the curriculum, the faculty credentials, and the outcomes of the program. The process of self-assessment for NASAC accreditation requires the program to be clear in its mission, create plans for reaching the mission, and demonstrate that the program meets national standards. Completing a systematic review of the curriculum, comparing it to the national standards, and assessing the program outcomes provides an opportunity for programs to reassess their mission on a regular basis, revise if necessary, update courses, assess priorities, and evaluate the effectiveness of the program in serving its purpose.
Peer Evaluation Provides Feedback
The NASAC accreditation process requires a site visit by an evaluation team consisting of faculty from programs already accredited. The peer evaluators will provide written feedback on the program. Also, the site visit offers an opportunity to discuss challenges, exchange ideas, and receive an outside perspective on the program. Peer evaluation combined with self-assessment provides the program with a broad perspective regarding program merits. Programs that earn accreditation can ensure the public that outside professionals knowledgeable about the standards of the profession have provided a well-informed appraisal of the program and deemed the program to meet national standards.
Assurance to Stakeholders
NASAC accreditation provides assurance to prospective students that a program provides the content and skill development standards for the addiction profession. Being NASAC accredited means the program is approved for providing the curriculum, the faculty is appropriately credentialed, and the program has skill development opportunities that are essential for becoming an addiction professional.
Equally as important, clients of addiction professionals graduating from NASAC accredited programs benefit from providers who have been educated in programs providing education that meets or exceeds the national standards. Potential employers can be assured that a graduate of an NASAC accredited program has been provided the educational opportunity necessary for competence. Lastly, those providing funding for educational programs can be reassured that NASAC accredited programs are delivering quality addiction studies education.
Increasing Standardization of Academic Requirements for the Profession
The joining of INCASE and NAADAC has contributed to creating a single set of academic expectations for those entering the addiction profession. Also, the standards can be used as a guideline for state licensing or certification boards.