The accreditation process can be complex, so a list of frequently asked questions and answers is provided.
The first step in the accreditation process is for a program to complete a CAAHEP Request for Accreditation Services (RAS) Form. Once the form is complete, it will be forwarded to the appropriate Committee on Accreditation (CoA). Following receipt of the RAS form, the CoA will contact your program and forward materials about accreditation fees, the self-study document, and the comprehensive site visit. A program must complete a CAAHEP Request for Accreditation Services Form, submit a self-study document, participate in a site visit, and be recommended by the CoA to the CAAHEP Board of Directors before being awarded accreditation.
The CAAHEP Board of Directors reviews accreditation recommendations 6 times per year (January, March, May, July, September, and November).
The CAAHEP Board of Directors normally meets on Fridays. The following Monday after the meeting of the CAAHEP Board in which your program was presented, an electronic letter will be sent to the President of your institution and electronic copies to both the Dean and the Program Director indicating the outcome of the meeting. If accreditation was awarded, a CAAHEP certificate of accreditation will be included in the Program Director’s letter. The program’s accreditation status will be noted on the CAAHEP website under Find an Accredited Program.
CAAHEP accreditation does not expire. Initial accreditation remains in place until another action is taken by the CAAHEP Board. At the end of the designated timeframe, a program may be awarded continuing accreditation or could be placed on probation, if the program is found to be in non-compliance with the Standards. Accreditation statuses of initial, continuing, and probation remain in place until the CAAHEP Board of Directors votes otherwise. Once a program has received continuing accreditation, accreditation remains in place until the CAAHEP Board of Directors votes otherwise. CAAHEP policy does currently require a comprehensive review at least once every 10 years. The CAAHEP Board of Directors reserves the right to place a program on probation or withdraw accreditation at such time that the program no longer meets CAAHEP Standards and has been appropriately notified.
It is difficult if not impossible for CAAHEP to give a time line of how long the CAAHEP process takes to complete. Completing and submitting the Request for Accreditation Services "triggers" the accreditation process. However, the actual process does not begin until the program's self-study is submitted and accepted by the appropriate CoA, all applicable fees have been paid, and a site visit scheduled. It is important to understand that the process varies greatly based on the overall readiness of the program, the quality of the self-study submitted, the availability of site visitors and the schedule of Committee on Accreditation meetings. Although the CAAHEP Board of Directors reviews accreditation recommendations 6 times per year (January, March, May, July, September, and November), many CoAs may meet less frequently. It is also important to note that requesting accreditation services does not guarantee the eventual accreditation of the program nor is there a guaranteed timeframe for the completion of the accreditation process.
Prior to requesting accreditation services one of the simplest things you can do is to review the CAAHEP Standards and Guidelines for the profession. The Standards and Guidelines are available on the CAAHEP website; Review the Standards and Guidelines documents.
CAAHEP is the largest specialized accreditor of allied health education programs in the United States, representing 32 professions. The Committees on Accreditation (CoAs) are where the professional expertise can be found and they are CAAHEP’s experts in evaluating and working with programs.
Once accredited by CAAHEP, CAAHEP charges an annual fee (see the Governing Document page for fee information). Each of the CoAs has its own set of fees. Generally speaking there is a fee for submission of the self-study, the site visit and an annual maintenance fee. For specific fee information, you will need to contact the appropriate CoA directly.
Since 2000, CAAHEP has been asking that question of all programs completing the accreditation process. The benefits cited most often are: marketing, outside quality assurance, maintaining curriculum currency and an ability for graduates to sit for certification/licensure exams and/or obtain employment.
CAAHEP has a complaint process for students (or other interested parties) to follow when there is a concern about a CAAHEP accredited program or about actions by a CoA or CAAHEP.
Prior to a Committee on Accreditation recommending probation, withdrawal, or withhold of accreditation to the CAAHEP Board of Directors, the program will receive notification from the Committee on Accreditation in which the program will be informed of the Committee on Accreditation’s intent to recommend an adverse action as well as the stated deficiencies that are the basis of that recommendation. The program will be offered the opportunity to request reconsideration of the proposed recommendation prior to the submission of the accreditation recommendation. The request for reconsideration by the program provides an opportunity to submit additional information addressing the stated deficiencies. The Committee on Accreditation may or may not change their recommendation to the CAAHEP Board of Directors upon review of the reconsideration materials. Only recommendations for withhold or withdrawal may be appealed.