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What Are Accredited Medical Schools?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 06 December 2016
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Accredited medical schools teach and train future medical professionals, typically doctors. These schools are certified by an organization that ensures that quality educations are provided by such facilities. Different countries often have various agencies and committees involved in accreditation, which can include government groups or private organizations. The standards used for certification can also vary between one country and another, though the curriculum of a school is commonly considered, as are admission procedures and staff at a school. Accredited schools are typically seen as required places of training for doctors and similar medical professionals, as they ensure a standardized level of education for graduates.

The purpose of accredited medical schools is to ensure that doctors are trained to a sufficient level prior to receiving a medical degree. Before the implementation of accrediting standards and organizations, schools were able to establish any type of system for training students and could grant medical degrees to graduates who may have been under trained. In order to stop these practices, accrediting organizations were established to evaluate schools and certify only to those that meet certain standards. While non-accredited schools can still grant degrees, most hospitals and professional organizations only employ or accept members who have graduated from accredited ones.

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Accrediting procedures can vary from country to country, though the overall approach is often the same. In the US, for example, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) keeps a list of accredited schools that people interested in attaining a medical degree should attend. The Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) reviews these schools by considering admission procedures for students, the curriculum taught in different classes, testing methods for classes, and the staff and faculty at a medical school. If the LCME approves accreditation for a school, then the AAMC adds that school to its list; the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) similarly maintains a list of accredited schools with osteopathic medical programs.

Different organizations in various countries can handle accreditation, and some governments can also approve medical schools from other countries. The US federal government, for example, includes the National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation (NCFMEA), which reviews accredited medical schools in other countries to evaluate how degrees from those schools should be considered by American medical associations and hospitals. This allows a doctor with a degree from a country outside of the US to potentially work within the US if his or her degree was from an appropriate school. Lists of accredited schools for potential students are typically available from accrediting associations.

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