In speaking to this topic, it would be simple and perhaps expedient to say that accreditation in a professional field has social value because it serves to protect society. It ostensibly protects society from mediocrity in the education process, and it protects students from being hoodwinked or fleeced. Accreditation protects the profession itself from being downgraded by the entry of ill-prepared practitioners. All of these things are part and parcel of the whole concept of accreditation, but to understand fully the social value of professional accreditation, one must place the concept within the matrix of our national background and also within the context of today's problems.
One of the fundamental and basic traditions of this nation has been the freedom of higher education from political interference and dictation. Largely because of this tradition of freedom of education, accreditation by nongovernmental agencies has developed in the United States. This situation is
Dickey FG. The Social Value of Professional Accreditation. JAMA. 1970;213(4):591–593. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03170300039008
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