Our program is interested in seeking accreditation. Where do we begin? Answer
Our program is interested in seeking accreditation. What does it cost? Answer
How will we be notified of our accreditation status? Answer
How long does the accreditation process take? Answer
Our program is interested in seeking accreditation. Where do we begin?
To launch your program's accreditation process, you must first complete a CAAHEP Request for Accreditation Services Form. The online form is automatically forwarded to the appropriate Committee on Accreditation (CoA). Soon after your submission, the CoA will contact your program and forward materials about accreditation fees, the self-study document, and the comprehensive on-site review.
Alternatively, begin by studying YAM. Then study the accreditation materials you will find on the website or can request from the CoA that serves your profession. When you're ready, submit the CAAHEP Request for Accreditation Services Form. In addition, most of the CoAs have their own websites with helpful information on the accreditation process. You may want to visit their website, as well. See the For Program Directors section of the CAAHEP website for a listing of CoAs and links to their websites.
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Our program is interested in seeking accreditation. What does it cost?
Your program doesn't "buy" accreditation; your program "seeks" it. Accreditation is not something you "purchase" once; it's a continous process. When you seek accreditation, it's something like joining a club; so long as you are a member, there will be activities required of you, and there will be fees.
There's no certain answer to the question of costs, depending in large measure on how you conduct the accreditation process and depending upon which activities of your staff may become budget items. For example, when you think about costs, consider questions such as these:
- What will it cost you in time and effort to review your program and write a report?
- Will you budget for staff time?
- Will you budget for clerical help?
- Will you budget for additional professional meetings where you learn about accreditation?
- Will you budget for consultant help?
There are some one-time fees your program will pay to enable the CoA to work with you for initial accreditation. There will be some out-of-pocket costs for the 2-person site visit team that comes to your campus. These fees and estimated costs are items your CoA either has posted on its website or will share with you when you request information.
Once your program becomes accredited, there will be annual fees to the CoA and to CAAHEP. The CAAHEP fee is an institutional fee -- each institution with one or more CAAHEP-accredited programs pays $450, currently. Some institutions will pay for this from an administration budget; others will allocate all or a portion of that fee to your program, so be sure to ask your administration how accreditation costs are handled where you work.
If your program is seeking initial accreditation, remember that initial accreditation is limited to 3 or 5 years (depending upon your CoA's policy). That means that it will not be many years before you will be seeking continuing accreditation. The process, and thus the costs, are similar to your costs when seeking initial accreditation.
Moreover, if, after you scrutinize your own program, you decide there are aspects of your program that need improvement before you seek accreditation, the changes you wish to make will probably have costs attached.
In some institutions, the fees and some of the expenses may be costs that your institution carries in its budget; other institutions expect these costs will be part of your program's budget.
A good strategy for anticipating all possible costs, and estimating those costs, is to consult peers in your institution or elsewhere who have been through the process. Also, consult your CoA.
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How will we be notified of our accreditation status?
If you are a new Program Director and do not know the accreditation status of your program, and cannot find this information in your files, contact your CoA or CAAHEP. A list of CoAs is found in the For Program Directors section of the CAAHEP website.
When your program has been recommended to CAAHEP for accreditation by your CoA, it will be considered at the next CAAHEP Board of Directors meeting. Immediately after that meeting, a letter will be sent to the President of your institution and copied to both the Dean and the Program Director indicating the outcome of the meeting. If initial or continuing accreditation is awarded, a CAAHEP certificate of accreditation will be included in the Program Director's letter. The program's accreditation status will be noted immediately on the CAAHEP website under Find an Accredited Program.
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How long does the accreditation process take?
Seeking initial or continuing accreditation is not a short process. In most instances, it will take approximately 12 months or more (and how much longer no one can say with certainty; tough cases may take several years). But the length of the process for your program will depend on several factors including:
- How long will it take your program to conduct a self-study and prepare a report?
- How long will your CoA require to review your self-study?
- What steps, if any, will your CoA require of your program after it has reviewed your self-study?
- When can a site visit be scheduled?
- How long will your CoA require to review the report of the site visit team?
- What steps, if any, will your CoA require after it has reviewed the site-visit report?
- When will your CoA meet to make a recommendation to CAAHEP?
- When will the CAAHEP Board meet to consider the recommendation from the CoA?
- Will any follow-up steps be required by the CAAHEP Board?
These several considerations obviously depend in part on your own initiative, energy and skills, and in part on calendars of various meetings of CoAs and CAAHEP, and in part upon how your program measures up against the Standards when it is reviewed. Once the CoA has made a recommendation to CAAHEP, the next CAAHEP Board meeting will be no more than 2 months away.
PLEASE NOTE: Do not make promises to anyone about how long it will be before your program is accredited, nor about the date your program will be accredited. Similarly, do not advertise that your program is in the process. CAAHEP policy forbids these actions, for obvious reasons: they are misleading to students who may believe that a date you supply, or the fact that your program is in the process, means that accreditation will be granted. (Students have been known to sue over real or implied promises that did not materialize.) You may advertise accreditation status only after it has been granted.
A good strategy for anticipating the length of time that may be required is to consult peers in your institution or elsewhere who have been through the process. Also, seek guidance from your CoA.
When does CAAHEP accreditation expire?
- Initial accreditation expires either 3 years or 5 years after it is granted. Whether 3 years or 5 is a policy decision of each CoA, so consult your CoA.
- Continuing accreditation does not expire; it can be withdrawn, with reason, and the status is reviewed periodically.
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