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Accreditation Standards and Guidelines for the Professional Program in Pharmacy Leading to the Doctor of Pharmacy Degree, ACPE - Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education

GUIDELINES Version 2.0
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Introduction to the Professional Degree Program Accreditation Process, ACPE - Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education

Accreditation is the public recognition accorded a professional program that is judged to meet established qualifications and educational standards through initial and subsequent periodic evaluations. Accreditation applies to professional programs and is distinguished from certification or licensure, which applies to individuals. Professional programs in pharmacy are those leading to the doctor of pharmacy degree. Those programs accredited by the ACPE are published in the annual Directory of Accredited Professional Programs of Colleges and Schools of Pharmacy. Recognition of the doctor of pharmacy program in the Directory denotes overall compliance with the standards of the degree program. It does not imply or infer that all doctor of pharmacy programs in the Directory are totally equivalent. Accreditation standards include both quantitative and qualitative parameters.

A professional program is evaluated on the extent to which it accomplishes its stated goals and is consistent with the concept that pharmacy is a unique, personal service profession in the health science field. In the application of these standards, literal conformity in every detail is not required. Variations are to be expected, and superiority in certain qualities may compensate, at least in part, for deficiencies in others. Many college and school programs exceed Council standards in one or more of the various elements comprising accreditation. In pharmacy education, as in American education generally, there is diversity. In this diversity there is potential strength. The accreditation process, therefore, seeks to maximize potential strengths while assuring basic expectations for quality pharmacy education.

The essential purpose of the accreditation process is to provide a professional judgment of the quality of a college or school of pharmacy's professional program and to encourage continued improvement thereof. Accreditation concerns itself with both quality assurance and quality enhancement. The responsibilities of ACPE's accreditation program are:
1. To advance the standards of pharmacy education in the United States and associated commonwealths.

2. To formulate the educational, scientific and professional principles and standards for professional programs in pharmacy which a college or school of pharmacy is expected to meet and maintain for accreditation of its program, and to revise these principles and standards when deemed necessary or advisable.

3. To formulate policies and procedures for the accreditation process.

4. To evaluate the professional program of any college or school of pharmacy within or beyond its national geographic scope that requests accreditation of its program.

5. To publish a directory of accredited professional programs of colleges and schools of pharmacy for the use of state boards of pharmacy or appropriate state licensing agencies in pharmacy, other interested agencies, and the public, and to revise such directory annually or as frequently as deemed desirable.

6. To provide assurances to constituencies that the professional programs which have been accredited continue to comply with standards, and therefore to conduct periodic evaluations in a manner similar to that for original accreditation.

7. To assist the advancement and improvement of pharmacy education as well as prerequisites and procedures for licensure and to provide a basis for inter-institutional relationships.
Accreditation of professional degree programs in pharmacy provides a national basis for quality assurance. In so doing, the accreditation process serves multiple constituencies:

For boards of pharmacy, accreditation provides a reliable basis for decision-making with regard to licensure.

For the public, accreditation assures conformity to general expectations of the profession and identification of colleges and schools of pharmacy which have explicitly undertaken activities directed at improving the quality of their professional programs, and are carrying them out successfully. Accreditation also assures improvement in the professional services available to the general public in that accredited programs are expected to modify their requirements to reflect advances in knowledge and practice.

For students and prospective students, accreditation assists in the transfer of credits among institutions and provides an assurance that a program has been found to provide satisfactory educational preparation for licensure and practice.

For institutions of higher education, accreditation provides a framework for self-evaluation and improvement as well as opportunity for external review and counsel. Accreditation also provides a basis for the decision-making of private and public agencies, including the Department of Education, in the awarding of grants and loans.

For the profession, accreditation provides a means for practitioner participation in the setting of requirements for preparation to enter the profession.


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