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ASA Accreditation: Everything You’ve Wanted to Know

1 August 2013 709 views One Comment

The ASA’s accreditation program is entering the second half of its first five-year cycle. ASA Executive Director Ron Wasserstein answers some common questions about the program.

Where do I find information about ASA accreditation (PStat®)?

The details about the accreditation program can be found on the ASA website. At this web page, you will find the ASA’s Guidelines for Voluntary Professional Accreditation (PDF download), which lay out the requirements to receive accreditation by the ASA. Information about how to apply, who already has been accredited, and more can be found there as well. If you don’t find the answers you need, write me at ron@amstat.org or call me at (703) 684-1221. Teri Utlaut, chair of the ASA’s Accreditation Committee, also is available to answer your questions. Teri’s contact information and a list of all the members of the Accreditation Committee is available on the accreditation website.

Do I qualify to be accredited?

ASA members with an advanced degree in statistics, biostatistics, or a related quantitative field with sufficient concentration in statistics and five years of qualified work experience are eligible to apply. To be accredited, applicants must demonstrate that they meet those two criteria, that they are competent practitioners of statistics at a level commensurate with those criteria, that they have good communication skills, and that they are committed to ongoing professional development. Also, accredited statisticians agree to abide by the ASA’s Ethical Guidelines for Statistical Practice.

Do I take a test?

No. The ASA’s accreditation program, like similar programs in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, are portfolio-based, rather than examination-based. By the way, the ASA is the new kid on the accreditation block. These three other countries have been offering accreditation for much longer (20 years in the UK, for example). But other countries are developing similar programs. As one example, I recently have had the privilege of working with our colleagues in Sweden, who are considering a program very similar to the ASA’s.

How do I apply?

The ASA’s Accreditation Committee recommends the following steps:

  • Read through the Guidelines for Voluntary Professional Accreditation
  • Take a look at the sample application form
  • Indicate your interest by filling out the “Request an Online Application” form. You’ll find a button to take you to the form on the accreditation homepage.
  • Within a few days (often within a few hours), you will receive an email message telling you how to access your individual online application.

What materials do I need when I apply?

Your application must include a CV or résumé, a cover letter outlining for the Accreditation Committee how you meet the requirements for accreditation, a list of degrees earned, a detailed list of relevant work experience, examples of statistical work you have done, a list of professional development activities you have recently undertaken, and contact information for two people who will serve as references.

What if I am unable to supply examples?

Some statisticians work on materials that are proprietary and therefore may not have the right or authority to share such work with the Accreditation Committee. If that’s the case, contact me and we will explore options.

Who should my references be, and what will they be asked?

Your references should be people who are familiar with your statistical work. At least one of them should be a professional statistician, someone who is accredited or who has the qualifications to be accredited. When you submit your application, your references will receive a link to an online reference form. The form is brief and asks the reference to speak to your professional competence, communications skills, and commitment to professional development and ethical statistical practice.

Why so many hoops?

I am frequently asked this question, sometimes in roughly the following way: “I have a PhD in statistics and have been practicing statistics for more than 20 years. Why do I have to go to all this trouble, and for crying out loud, why do I need references?” The short answer is that it is a matter of fairness. The ASA Board requires the Accreditation Committee to carefully and consistently evaluate each applicant, whether the applicant just meets the requirements (i.e., has the minimum education and experience) or far exceeds them. So, we ask all applicants to supply the same kind of background information to document their qualifications.

How is my application reviewed?

Each application is reviewed by at least three members of the Accreditation Committee (which has 18 members). Reviewers have been trained on the accreditation guidelines and how to evaluate applications against the criteria for accreditation. Reviews are handled confidentially, and committee members recuse themselves from any applications for which they have a conflict of interest. In addition, applicants may ask for specific committee members to not review their application.

What if my application is unsuccessful?

The long-term goal of the Accreditation Committee is to accredit statisticians, not to exclude them. However, it is the responsibility of each applicant to demonstrate that she or he meets the criteria. If an applicant is unsuccessful in doing so, the applicant receives a letter from the committee indicating what will be needed to achieve success in a future attempt. Reapplying is easy, in the sense that an applicant does not have to start from scratch, and the cost is minimal. However, unsuccessful applicants should carefully consider and fully address the information the committee has provided in the letter before reapplying.

How much does it cost?

There is a $120 charge to apply for accreditation and an annual fee of $85 to maintain accreditation. However, this annual fee is easily recouped through savings available to accredited members, who receive a 20% discount on Continuing Education registration at JSM and a 20% discount on registration fees for the Conference on Statistical Practice. In addition, accredited members have free access to all LearnStat OnDemand materials.

Isn’t accreditation just a money-maker for the ASA?

As your executive director, I must point out that it is highly desirable for the ASA to have money-making activities. Those type of activities help pay for the ASA’s other mission-related activities (education and advocacy, for example) that don’t make money, but are critical to who we are as a society and what we do to promote the practice and profession of statistics. So it would be great if accreditation was a source of positive net revenue for the ASA, but it is not. Accreditation is, however, an important service to members.

Why should I apply for accreditation?

This might be the most important question of all. The question addresses the value of accreditation to the individual and to the profession. The title of the document laying out the criteria for accreditation reveals important aspects of the ASA’s program: Guidelines for Voluntary Professional Accreditation by the American Statistical Association. Foremost is that the program is voluntary. Accreditation is not licensure. That is, one does not have to have accreditation to practice statistics the way one must be licensed to practice law, for example.

But the important word after “voluntary” is “professional.” Accreditation brings value to both members of the profession and those who benefit from the work of professional statisticians.

Viewed from the profession, accreditation testifies that there is a body of knowledge known as “statistics,” that accredited practitioners must be well versed in that knowledge at an advanced level, and must have applied it competently and ethically through practice for several years to be considered a professional. And, as rapidly as the theory and practice of statistics evolves, so must professional statisticians continually stay abreast of new developments in their areas of expertise.

Of course, one does not have to be accredited to have these qualities, but accreditation is one witness to the wider world that statisticians are professionals, akin to architects, doctors, engineers, and lawyers.

Why is this important? Many issues that have an effect on our daily lives—our health and safety, work, standard of living, and the policies of our governments—are crucially influenced by statistics. Sound statistical practice informs sound decisions, leading to better policymaking and better outcomes. Incorrect or unethical use of statistics can produce misleading results, poor advice, and bad choices.

That is, the practice of statistics is a job for skilled professionals. Accredited statisticians are recognized by their peers as combining education, experience, competence, and commitment to ethics at a level that labels them as professionals. In addition, accreditation provides a measure of assurance to employers, contractors, and collaborators of statisticians and is a mark of accomplishment to society at large.

Who has been accredited so far?

On the accreditation website is an up-to-date list of accredited members. As of July 8, 2013, the people in the following list are ASA-accredited statisticians. The Accreditation Committee invites all qualified statisticians to become accredited and join this growing list.

Abbott, Robert D.
Adams, Gerald J.
Adlis, Susan A.
Afshartous, David
Amrhein, John
Astatkie, Tessema
Bailer, A. John
Bailey, Steven A.
Bakal, Jeffrey A.
Bartko, John J.
Bartlett, Randy J.
Batcher, Mary K.
Bergquist, Timothy M.
Blaine, Bruce Evan
Bocci, Cynthia J.
Campagna, Elizabeth Jane
Caraballo, Jose N.
Castillo, Flor Alba
Chapman, Judith-Anne W.
Chen, Christy
Chen, Hong
Cheng, Jenhao Jacob
Chernick, Michael R.
Chuang-Stein, Christy
Coakley, Eugenie H.
Cohen, Michael P.
Copenhaver, Margaret D.
Cross, Chad L.
Curran-Everett, Douglas
Davidian, Marie
Davis, Timothy P.
DeLong, Allison K.
Dey, Dipak K.
DiCanzio, James
Dixon, Philip M.
Doane, David P.
Dobson, Joel L.
Du, Hongyan
Edwards, Don
Fairweather, William R.
Fegan, Greg
Finch, Holmes
Fisher, Justin S.
Fisher, Nicholas I.
Fleishman, Allen I.
Forbes, Peter W.
Fox, David R.
Fu, Guangyu
Fulton, Lawrence V.
Gajewski, Byron Jon
Gardner, Samuel J.
Gerwien, Robert
Ghosh, Sunita
Gilbert, Gregory E.
Ginevan, Michael E.
Gitlow, Howard Seth
Grego, John M.
Grunden, Beverly K.
Haddock, Christopher K.
Hall, Kathryn B.
Haller, Harold S.
Hamasaki, Toshimitsu
Hao, Yong
Harsanyi, Zoltan
Hassad, Rossi Alim
Hasselblad, Victor
Hayat, Matthew J.
Hertzberg, Vicki S.
Hewson, Paul James
Hilsenbeck, Susan G.
Hilton, Joan F.
Ho, Alex W.
Holland, Chris
Holtschlag, David J.
Horton, Nicholas J.
Ittenbach, Richard F.
Johnson, John D.
Johnstone, Iain M.
Jokinen, Jeremy D.
Jones, Byron
Kajiji, Nina
Katz, Terry L.
Kazanis, Anamaria Segnini
Keen, Kevin J.
Kelley, Ken
Kelly, Colleen
Khamis, Faisal G.
Khamis, Harry J.
Kimble, David L.
King, Dennis W.
Kirkendall, Nancy J.
Kokkotos, Fotios K.
Kolenikov, Stanislav
Kosorok, Michael R.
Kunimura, Dennis
Kuonen, Diego
Kurtinecz, Milena T.
Latta, R. Michael
Lee, Albert Joseph
Lee, Ji-Hyun
Lesik, Sally A.
Lewis, Trevor
Lindborg, Stacy R.
Long, Fei
Look, Alson C.
Lorenz, Douglas J.
Louis, Thomas A.
Love, James T.
Mahnken, Jonathan D.
Mason, Robert L.
Mayo, Matthew Stuart
McAllister, James A.
McCabe, George P.
McCoy, Thomas P.
McDougall, Janet Elizabeth
Mendez, Francis A.
Michelson, Diane K.
Miller, Joel C.
Millis, Scott R.
Molenberghs, Geert
Morganstein, David R.
Morin, Victor N.
Muenchen, Robert A.
Mulrow, Edward J.
Mulrow, Jeri Metzger
Murphy, Terrence E.
Myles, James Donald
Nestler, Scott T.
Neubauer, Dean V.
Nevius, Anna B.
Nicolich, Mark J.
Nielson, Ryan M.
O’Brien, Liam M.
O’Malley, A. James
Ojikutu, Rasheed Kola
Palmer, J. Lynn
Pardo, Scott A.
Patrie, James T.
Patterson, Scott D.
Pennings, Jacquelyn Sue
Petska, Ryan T.
Phillips, Kem
Piegorsch, Walter W.
Ploutz-Snyder, Robert J.
Posner, Michael A.
Pottala, James V.
Prybutok, Victor R.
Rambharat, Bhojnarine
Riffenburgh, Robert H.
Rockhold, Frank W.
Rodda, Bruce E.
Rosychuk, Rhonda J.
Sahely, Leah E
Sawilowsky, Shlomo S.
Scheuren, Fritz J.
Schmitt, Thomas A
Schroth, Phillip C.
Schwarz, Carl James
Shayib, Mohammed A.
Short, Thomas H.
Singal, Bonita Merle
Sizemore, Douglas R.
Sloboda, Brian W.
Smith, David McCulloch
Smith, William Boyce
Sorbel, Jeffrey J.
Sosa, Terry Weber
Splitstone, Douglas E.
Spruill, Susan E.
Stark, Philip
Stedl, John L.
Stevenson, Clint W.
Tamura, Roy Noriki
Taylor, Wayne A.
Thiessen, Bradley A.
Tractenberg, Rochelle E.
Turnbull, Bruce W.
Utlaut, Theresa L.
Verbeke, Geert
Von Eye, Alexander
Vos, Paul W.
Wang, Chungui
Wendelberger, James G.
Williams, Ken L.
Wilson, Alyson G.
Wong, Wing-leung
Woolford, Samuel W.
Wright, Kevin
Yau, Kelvin K. W.
Zhao, Yufan
Zou, Kelly H.

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