Current Developments in Accreditation and Certification for Health Promotion and Health Education: A Perspective on Systems of Quality Assurance in the United States

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The health education profession in the United States employs parallel, and overlapping, systems of voluntary credentialing to ensure quality in professional preparation. The U.S. approach to quality assurance comprises credentialing at the individual level, including certification, and at the institutional level, including regional and program-specific accreditation or approval of professional preparation degree programs. These multiple systems and levels of quality assurance have evolved during a half century but have not been uniformly available or universally embraced by the field, employers, or those in the institutional settings in which health educators now receive their professional preparation. This article reviews the current scope of credentialing systems in the United States and explains whom they serve and how they function. Recent developments that are now reshaping the landscape of quality assurance in health education and health promotion are also discussed.

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