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Accrediting bodies in the Caribbean with recognized standards by the US Department of Education

Accrediting bodies in Caribbean

There are only two Accrediting bodies in the Caribbean whose standards are recognized and accepted by the US Department of Education (meaning that their standards of evaluation mimic those of the accrediting bodies evaluating US medical schools):

  • Netherland’s-Flemish Accreditation Organization (NVAO) from Netherlands, mainly accrediting schools in Netherland’s territories in the Caribbean (Saba, Bonaire, St. Eustatius).
  • Accreditation Commission on Colleges of Medicine (ACCM) from Ireland, mainly accrediting schools on the island of Aruba, St. Martin, Cayman Islands, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.

These accrediting bodies have been appointed by the governments of different islands as official accrediting bodies of the island. Some islands have not adopted this trend and do not have an accreditation requirement or have a local accrediting body which the United States does not recognize. US Department of Education DOES NOT directly accredit, but recognizes institutions ACCREDITED by the accrediting bodies they found to be of good quality (three listed above). If the school is accredited by the bodies indicated above, it will likely be recognized by the US DOE.


TIP #13: Every medical school in the Caribbean HAS TO be RECOGNIZED/APPROVED by these bodies:

  • Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG)
  • Listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools (WDOMS,, which has been developed through a partnership between the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME) and the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER).

By being recognized by these institutions, the student of the recognized school is eligible to sit for the USMLEs, apply for residency in the United States, sit for Canadian licensing examinations and apply for residency in Canada as well. THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE SCHOOL IS ACCREDITED.


Tip #14: There are several levels of accreditation that accrediting bodies can issue:

  • Initial Accreditation (usually issued to new schools)
  • Provisional Accreditation (next level, meaning that most standards are met, but some serious concerns exist)
  • Accreditation with Conditions (majority standards are met, improvements needed in order to retain or move to the next level)
  • Full Accreditation (highest accreditation level issued)

NVAO and ACCM follow similar delineation but have fewer levels and name the levels differently. The point is that although a school may say it is accredited, it could mean different things. If the school claims it is accredited, please verify by whom and at which level. Also, note when the next inspection is and whether, over time, the school has been improving. Who knows, maybe you will assist next time the school gets visited by accreditors (students play important role in each accreditation visit).

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