The exercise science program at Murray State University (MSU) has received initial accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). The program is offered through the MSU college of health sciences and human services. Specialization tracks within the major include wellness, pre-physical therapy, pre-occupational therapy and pre-physician assistant.
A recent peer review conducted by the Committee on Accreditation for the Exercise Sciences (CoAES) resulted in a recommendation to CAAHEP’s board of directors to recognize the program’s substantial compliance with the nationally established accreditation standards. Accreditation standards in exercise science are established by CoAES, which represents the following professional organizations — the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Council on Exercise, the American Kinesiotherapy Association, the Cooper Institute, and the National Academy of Sports Medicine. The standards are then approved by the CAAHEP board of directors.
The CoAES will regularly monitor the program’s compliance with the outcomes assessment thresholds through the program’s annual report and using other documentation that might be requested. Additionally, the program must periodically assess its effectiveness in achieving its goals and learning domains. Some of the outcomes assessments to be measured are performance on national credentialing examinations, retention/attrition, graduate and employer satisfaction, and job placement.
National accreditation by CAAHEP is a hallmark of excellence. The commission accredits education programs in 23 allied-health professions. Accreditation is a method of assuring quality of curricular offerings, faculty credentials and that graduates of the program meet professional expectations. A number of health professions will not allow graduates to sit for their licensure or certification exam unless they have completed an accredited program.
According to Dr. Susan Muller, dean of the college of health sciences and human services, accreditation serves many important functions. “It ensures that academic programs update the curriculum on a regular basis, provides students with a quality assurance measure when selecting an academic program and promotes the preparation of a well-qualified workforce providing healthcare services,” Muller said.
Murray State’s initial accreditation runs through May 31, 2018. The program will be required to undergo a 5-year continuing accreditation visit that will provide an opportunity to earn accreditation for an additional 10-year period.