CAAHEP LogoIn part one of this two-part series, featured in the May 2016 issue of the ARC/STSA E-newsletter, we learned a little bit more about CAAHEP: What the organization is, as well as its history, mission, vision and function. With this understanding of CAAHEP’s goal — to create quality educational programs that prepare students for a successful career in surgical technology and surgical assisting — we can better understand the relationship between CAAHEP and ARC/STSA.

The Accreditation Review Council on Education in Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (ARC/STSA) was formed by the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Council on Medical Education in 1972 after educational standards for the surgical technology field were adopted. When specialized accreditation programs began just two years later, standards of compliance were developed by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the Association of Surgical Technologists (AST). In 1994, ARC/STSA became separately incorporated and one of the member Committees on Accreditation under CAAHEP’s umbrella.

Accreditation is a method of ensuring that agreed-upon standards of performance and quality have been met by educational institutions and professional programs. CAAHEP is the largest programmatic/specialized accreditor in the healthcare field and the accrediting body for the surgical technology and surgical assisting programs. But they don’t do it alone. CAAHEP looks to accreditation review councils with expertise in different program areas to help ensure programs meet the standards that have been set forth.

ARC/STSA administers programs to ensure the elements required for CAAHEP accreditation are met, including:

  • Self-study: The program analyzes how well it meets the Standards and Guidelin