Accreditation Standards and Guidelines for the Professional Program in Pharmacy Leading to the Doctor of Pharmacy Degree, ACPE - Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education
ADOPTED: JANUARY 15, 2006
RELEASED: FEBRUARY 17, 2006
EFFECTIVE: JULY 1, 2007
GUIDELINES Version 2.0
ADOPTED: JANUARY 23, 2011
EFFECTIVE: FEBRUARY 14, 2011
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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
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
Accreditation of professional degree programs in pharmacy provides a national
basis for quality assurance. In so doing, the accreditation process serves
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.