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OUR ACCREDITATION PROCESS

 
 

PRELIMINARY ACCREDITATION

Preliminary Accreditation is the first step in the process. Education programs complete a self-assessment by rating the program against the standards, using CMTCA guides and worksheets. The self-assessment along with the evidence to support the ratings is then submitted through a dedicated online portal. 


Preliminary Accreditation submissions are evaluated independently by three peer surveyors who provide their findings to CMTCA. The CMTCA board makes the final decision.

  • If Preliminary Accreditation is granted, programs have up to two years to prepare for and undergo the site visit.

  • If Preliminary Accreditation is not granted, CMTCA provides recommendations for improvement.  The program will be eligible to submit updated evidence no sooner than six months after the date of the decision.

REVIEW FOR MINISTRY APPROVAL

For new education programs or for existing programs that want to open new sites, being granted Preliminary Accreditation provides assurance to provincial governments, as needed, that the new program or new site meets CMTCA accreditation requirements, including that the Practice Competencies and Performance Indicators for Massage Therapists at Entry-to-Practice (PCs/PIs) are adequately embedded throughout the proposed curriculum.

SITE VISIT

During the site visit, two peer surveyors and a CMTCA staff member visit* the program to further assess compliance with the standards and confirm the Preliminary Accreditation findings. Surveyors use the tracer methodology to conduct the site visit. This includes reviewing documents and program materials; interviewing faculty, staff, leadership, students, and other stakeholders; and observing processes and procedures.

*Programs have the option of a having a virtual site visit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

ACCREDITATION DECISIONS

After Preliminary Accreditation, a decision of either Granted or Not Granted is issued.

After the site visit (except for the first one), a program may be accredited for one, three, or five years, or be issued a decision of Non-accredited. The maximum decision after a first site visit is three years.

The CMTCA board calculates the accreditation decision using a CMTCA’s decision-making framework. The framework applies to both Preliminary Accreditation and site visits.

Only Non-accredited decisions may be appealed.

 
 

CMTCAu

Throughout  the accreditation process, we encourage our education program clients  to take advantage of the learning resources on CMTCAu. It’s a great space to learn from and interact with people from other programs that are already accredited or that are working toward accreditation.

Conversation between Colleagues

THE TRACER METHODOLOGY

During a site visit, CMTCA surveyors use the tracer method to assess compliance with the accreditation standards. They “trace” their way using interviews, discussion, and observation to obtain an in-depth and well-rounded perspective on the extent to which the program meets the standards. Surveyors may talk to anyone at any point—their interactions are not limited to pre-set interviews or meetings—and they may follow up on any topic that comes up during a discussion. They may also ask to see documents such as policies and procedures and will review these where they are usually located.
Tracers involve much more interaction with many more people (e.g., students, alumni, clients/patients, faculty, staff, board members, external stakeholders) than traditional document-based assessment methods. In fact, collecting information through conversations and interviews, to obtain multiple and varied points of view, is at the heart of the tracer method.

 

Benefits

The two-day site visit can be an intense time. Some activities may be disruptive as surveyors do their work, especially if they need to speak to people multiple times. Of course, surveyors try to keep this to a minimum, but it is an inherent part of the process.
Despite this, CMTCA education programs report several benefits of tracers. They like that information is sought from those directly affected (e.g., students, staff, patients/clients). They find staff feel comfortable answering questions because the staff are able to explain the process they follow. And they appreciate the opportunity to show how the program actually operates rather than “just making things look good on paper.”
The tracer method also helps raise awareness of the value of accreditation throughout the program as a result of the surveyors speaking with so many different people. It offers an investigative depth that goes beyond traditional paper-based approaches and helps support a true culture of quality improvement.

 

A creative and flexible tool

The two-day site visit can be an intense time. Some activities may be disruptive as surveyors do their work, especially if they need to speak to people multiple times. Of course, surveyors try to keep this to a minimum, but it is an inherent part of the process.
Despite this, CMTCA education programs report several benefits of tracers. They like that information is sought from those directly affected (e.g., students, staff, patients/clients). They find staff feel comfortable answering questions because the staff will have be able to explain the process they follow. And they appreciate the opportunity to show how the program actually operate rather than “just making things look good on paper.”
The tracer method also helps raise awareness of the value of accreditation throughout the program as a result of the surveyors speaking with so many different people. It offers an investigative depth that goes beyond traditional paper-based approaches and helps support a true culture of quality improvement.

Surveyors

CMTCA surveyors are committed to helping massage therapy education programs grow and improve. They are unbiased evaluators, mentors, quality improvement advocates, and good practice disseminators. They are not auditors or inspectors.

 

Whether they are conducting a Preliminary Accreditation review or a site visit, their job is to rate the program against the standards, highlight what is being done right, and make recommendations for improvement.

 

BECOME A SURVEYOR

If you have an interest in quality improvement, familiarity with massage therapy education, and proven communication and interpersonal skills, consider joining our surveyor team. Our in-depth training and mentoring program will prepare you to use your knowledge and expertise to help massage therapy education programs grow and improve through accreditation.

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