CAAHEP is a unique programmatic accreditor. Not only does CAAHEP accredit programs for 22 health sciences professions, but we work in collaboration with 18 Committees on Accreditation, each one of which specializes in one or more specific professions.
When a program submits a Request for Accreditation Services, their interactions will be primarily with the Committee on Accreditation that represents the appropriate health sciences discipline. The Committee on Accreditation will work with the program through the Request for Accreditation Services, self-study and on-site review process. Upon completion of the self-study and on-site review, the Committee on Accreditation will meet to discuss their findings and to make a determination as to whether or not it is appropriate to forward an accreditation recommendation to the CAAHEP Board of Directors.
Generally speaking an educational program becomes CAAHEP accredited by going through the following steps:
- A review of the Standards and Guidelines. The very first step a program should take when considering CAAHEP accreditation is to review the Standards and Guidelines for that specific program area. A program cannot become accredited without being in substantial compliance with the approved CAAHEP Standards.
- Complete the CAAHEP Request for Accreditation Services Form. The CAAHEP accreditation process is initiated by completing a Request for Accreditation Services signed by the chief executive officer or designated representative of the institution. A separate request must be completed for each CAAHEP program seeking accreditation.
- Contacting the appropriate Committee on Accreditation to initiate the accreditation process including the request of all appropriate materials such as the fee schedule, self-study guide etc.
- Completing a self-study which is a written analysis of how well the program measures up to the established Standards.
- Scheduling an On-Site Evaluation in cooperation with the program and the appropriate Committee on Accreditation. The on-site visit includes a team of “site visitors” who travel to the institution to determine how accurately the self-study reflects the status of the program and to answer any additional questions that arise. This is a “peer review” process and often, after the formal part of the site visit is concluded, team members will share ideas for how a program can be strengthened or improved.
- Upon the completion of the self-study and the on-site review, the appropriate Committee on Accreditation will review the written report provided by the site visitors and develop a recommendation concerning accreditation. This recommendation will be forwarded to the CAAHEP Board of Directors and could be for:
- Initial accreditation. Programs receive initial accreditation when it is their first time through the CAAHEP system.
- Continuing accreditation. Programs in substantial compliance with the Standards receive continuing accreditation for all recommendations subsequent to initial accreditation.
- Probation. Probation is a status of accreditation. A program is placed on probation when they are a currently accredited program that has fallen out of substantial compliance with the Standards but it is believed that the program can correct these cited deficiencies within a reasonable period of time.
- Withdrawal of accreditation. A program may have its accreditation withdrawn when it has continually failed to be in substantial compliance with the Standards.
- Withhold accreditation. A program applying for initial accreditation may have accreditation withheld if it is determined that the program is not yet ready to be accredited.
- Finally, the CAAHEP Board of Directors reviews the recommendation from the appropriate Committee on Accreditation assuring that due process has been met and that the Standards have been applied to the program in a consistent and equitable manner. Once the Board of Directors has adequately reviewed the recommendation, the Board will either vote on the recommendation as presented by the Committee on Accreditation or “table” the recommendation sending it back to the Committee on Accreditation for more information.