Why is Accreditation is Important, Facts vs. Opinion

Much has been said on social media pages on the topic of accreditation vs. experience as it pertains to executive protection schools and providers. And many have reached to us for our opinion on the topic, but truth is, this is a false narrative.

First, what are we talking about when we say accredited?  Accreditation is the recognition that a training provider maintains the standards as established by an official regulatory body required for its graduates to achieve credentials for professional practice.

In other words, we teach the material the regulatory agency requires for a graduate to get a job.

Accreditation ensures every class is standardized with approved terminal and learning objectives, testing criteria, test & exercise scoring, and graduation standards, and instructor training and experience requirements.

Because accredited programs have had their curriculum and lesson plans reviewed and the learning objectives validated a school can’t just change its curriculum on a whim and replace proven or required classes with garbage marketing classes on new holsters or tac clothing. In fact, an accredited training program is often audited by inspectors to ensure the instructors are properly conducting training and following the lesson plans.

In short accredited (our) programs meet the regulatory training requirements so our grads can get a job and know what they are supposed to know to do the work correctly. For prospective students entering the EP industry accreditation is important because it helps determine if a training institution meets or exceeds minimum standards of quality. It assists students to determine acceptable institutions for enrollment. And helps employers determine the validity of programs of study and whether a graduate is qualified.

But let’s highlight a fact often glossed over by the “you don’t need accreditation crowd”

 I understand some disagree with the need for accreditation, or you think a few years of experience makes you qualified to teach an EP class. One person said on social media “I would rather have experience than accreditation’. Now I understand that to mean you would rather have experienced EP agents teach your class as opposed to instructors in an accredited program. 

Well, let’s use a well-known and worn-out example of why that’s shortsighted. A person shoots millions of rounds on the range; he/she competes in shooting competitions and wins often. But they lack the training needed to successfully transfer their experience to a student. That is, they can’t teach. 

The simple truth is you can’t have an accredited training program without vetted, highly experienced, and certified instructors. A training program will never get approved without fully qualified and highly experienced instructors certified to conduct them. And with accredited programs, the students have a legal avenue to file complaints against the training providers or instructors with real substantial penalties when they fail to meet the standards.

There are few similar type training programs outside of EP circles that are not certified or accredited in some fashion, don’t believe me, ok, check out these requirements to serve as an instructor in these accredited training programs;

Police Academy Instructor Qualifications

Instructors must possess an Associate of Arts degree and six-years’ experience or a Bachelor’s degree and two years’ experience.   Some subjects require instructor certification per POST regulation 10-70 (i.e., Defensive Tactics, Firearms, Driving, CPR, Hazardous Materials, Racial Profiling, PT). And all instructors must complete a POST Academy Instructor Certification Course (AICC) prior to submission of an application.

Note:  Individual instructor courses typically require 40 to 80 hours of training, as well as internships, meaning that police instructors must undergo hundreds of hours of additional training to be certified as instructors in the various techniques. Instructors may also be required to undergo a background investigation, which may include a polygraph exam.

Army Drill Sergeant http://www.ncosupport.com/special-assignments/army-drill-sergeant

Be physically fit, meet body composition requirements, and be able to pass the APFT (no substitution of events) upon arrival at DS school. If age 40 years or older must have the appropriate medical clearance at the time of the request. Medical clearance should state that the Soldier is medically cleared for DS duty. Have no record of emotional instability as determined by screening of health records and clinical evaluation by a competent mental health officer and have no speech impediment.

Be a high school graduate or possess the GED equivalent; Display good military bearing; Have demonstrated leadership ability during previous tours of duty and have demonstrated the capability to perform in positions of increasing responsibility as senior NCO in the Army, as reflected on the NCOERs. Have had no court-martial convictions; have no record of disciplinary action, to include letters of reprimand, or time lost during current enlistment or in last 5 years, whichever is longer. Have a minimum GT score of 100 and have qualified with M16A2 or M–4 carbine rifle within last 6 months; Be SGT through SFC (SGT must have a minimum of 1 year time in grade and be a graduate of the WLC prior to nomination) and have a minimum of 4 years total active Federal Service.

Note: Soldiers must successfully complete DS school prior to performing DS duties.

TCCC NAEMT Instructor http://www.naemt.org/education/become-an-instructor

All approved NAEMT training centers are required to use approved NAEMT instructors to conduct NAEMT courses. NAEMT has specific requirements to become an approved instructor, as outlined below. To obtain approval, all of these requirements must be met.

Successfully complete the NAEMT provider course for the program for which you wish to serve as an instructor. In the United States, be licensed as an EMT or Paramedic. Instructors may not teach content or skills they are not credentialed to perform.  Note:  Some NAEMT courses require Paramedic level licensure; For the U.S. military, must be currently certified by NREMT at the EMT, AEMT or Paramedic level or hold a military medic instructor credential issued by one of the U.S. Armed Services

New NAEMT Instructors must complete the NAEMT Instructor Application; Take and pass the NAEMT Instructor Preparation course (offered in English and Spanish online, and in other languages as a classroom course).  Meet any other instructor requirements determined by your NAEMT training center; Be monitored by an NAEMT Affiliate Faculty at your NAEMT training center as you teach your initial classroom provider course.   

Maintain your approved instructor status by teaching at least one course per year, attending all instructor updates, as required; Maintain current contact information with NAEMT Headquarters by emailing new information to [email protected].

In closing, when you say you value experience over accreditation your not alone. The accreditation agencies agree with you which is why they ensure instructors are vetted and have proven experience. Here at ISA, we agree with you, which is why all of our instructors are vetted and certified by law enforcement or higher education. 

We agree experience in the field doing the job under all conditions and threats is critical if your training program is to be successful. It’s hard to teach something you have never done correctly even with 80 hours of instructor training. Faking it won’t work.







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Disclaimer: If you want to attend non-accredited training courses that does not mean they are bad training programs. Many training providers can’t staff permanent instructors or have instructor candidates that can’t pass the vetting. The cost to get accredited can be over $6000.00 and take hundreds of man-hours to prepare lesson plans under specific guidelines to be evaluated.

There is copy write issues, legal restrictions, auditing requirements, and curriculum restrictions many program managers simply won’t adhere to. Every two years you need to reapply and if you hire a new instructor he/she needs to be approved first.

Non-accredited courses may have excellent instructors and do a good job training the students by sub-contracting parts of their training programs to outside accredited training providers like the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians for TCCC training. Why get accredited when you can sub it out and save the money and time of getting accredited by that organization.