About Accreditation and Certification
"Accreditation" is a status granted to an institution, program, or other entity that meets stated criteria of quality. In the United States, accreditation of professional preparation curricula is conferred by non-governmental bodies, which are often closely associated with professional associations in the field. The National Wellness Institute Council on Wellness Accreditation and Education (CWAE) is such a body.
CWAE academic program accreditation is voluntary. Applications for accreditation may be submitted by any institution offering a two- or four-year undergraduate curriculum in health promotion and wellness. While academic program accreditation cannot guarantee the quality of individual graduates or of individual courses, it gives reasonable assurance of the context and quality of the education offered. Students considering the broad field of wellness should investigate individual academic programs in detail to determine which ones meet their individual needs.
While "accreditation" applies to institutions, programs, or other entities, "certification," applies to individuals. In the health promotion and wellness field, certification may be linked to accreditation. NWI extends immediate eligibility for the Certified Wellness Practitioner (CWP) designation (a "certification") to graduates of CWAE accredited programs who have a bachelor's degree. The CWP status is valued by employers as a professional credential.
Benefits of CWAE Academic Program Accreditation
- Accreditation assures both quality and improvement of an academic program.
- An accredited program is internationally recognized as exemplary in the preparation of wellness professionals.
- Graduates of CWAE accredited programs are eligible to become Certified Wellness Practitioners. (Applications for CWP must be received within 24 months of graduation from the accredited program.)
- Faculty of CWAE accredited programs are eligible to become Certified Wellness Practitioners or may receive a one-year complimentary National Wellness Institute Individual membership.
- The outside review of the accredited program may be used as a tool for ongoing refinements of curriculum and in efforts to secure resources necessary to maintain high standards.