The American Dental Association has a unique system of peer-reviewed accreditation, known the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). This organization, which is part of the American Dental Association, was established in the 90s to ensure that all dental training degree programs met the uniform standards of practices and that graduates of a CODA-certified school are equipped with the skills to excel in the dental field.
Through an accreditation process, CODA is able to recognize both specific degree training schools as well as continuing education programs for practicing dentists and dental health professionals.
In general, the process schools undergo to obtain CODA accreditation includes applying standards developed and endorsed by CODA. The standards measured include: physical facilities of the school or training programs, financial funding, college faculty, curriculum, and graduate outcomes. The multi-level approach to accreditation ensures that information is accurate and correctly reflects the current teaching practices and maintaining overall educational integrity.
The process first starts with the application, followed by a very intense self evaluation, then on-site visit. The Commission then reviews both reports and makes a recommendation to accredit or deny the institution.
CODA publishes the status of all dental schools and programs across the nation so that prospective students can easily check to ensure the school they are considering follows these nationally established and recognized standards for education and training. It can be viewed at http://www.ada.org/117.aspx.