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CAAHEP Accreditation Process

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Each Committee on Accreditation (CoA) in the CAAHEP system works directly with programs in its discipline throughout the accreditation process.  As outlined in the CAAHEP Policy & Procedures, CoAs must utilize core elements in reviewing programs and formulating recommendations to CAAHEP.  Below are core elements and a summary of the CAAHEP process.  For more specific information on a particular profession, contact the CoA for the profession
 

1. Submission of the Request for Accreditation Services (RAS)

Programs submit the RAS form electronically through CAAHEP’s website, and it is delivered directly to the CoA that evaluates programs in the discipline for which services are requested.   The RAS must contain the typed “signature” of the CEO/President, or an officially designated representative of the institution, to authorize the accreditation process.  Programs requesting initial accreditation will be contacted by the CoA and provided information to begin the accreditation process.
 

2. Submission of Self-Study Report

The self-study report is completed by the program, and documents how the program meets each of the Standards outlined in the Standards and Guidelines document for the applicable profession.  Each CoA develops the self-study document template that must be completed by the program for the applicable discipline.  Submission of the self-study is the first step in beginning the review process.
 
3. Review of Self-Study by the CoA
Assigned representatives from the CoA review the self-study and provide feedback and/or consultation to the program, as needed.
 
4. Site Visit
Individuals assigned by the CoA will conduct a site visit, which typically lasts 1-2 days and provides the CoA the opportunity to verify information submitted in the self-study in order to further assess the program.  A site visit includes review of program documentation and facilities, as well as interviews with students, graduates (if applicable), faculty, administration, advisory committee members, and others as required by the CoA.
 
5. Program’s Response to Site Visit Findings
Programs will receive a report of site visit findings from the CoA following the site visit and are given the opportunity to respond to findings prior to further consideration by the CoA. 
 
6. CoA Review of Program’s Compliance with Standards
The CoA reviews the site visit findings and the program’s response to findings to determine the degree of compliance with each of the Standards.  Additional information/clarification may be requested by the CoA, if necessary.
 
7. Accreditation Recommendation Determined by CoA
The CoA formulates an accreditation recommendation and forwards the recommendation to CAAHEP for action.  Because nothing is final until CAAHEP has reviewed and taken action on the CoA recommendation, programs are typically not notified of the recommendation, but instead are notified directly by CAAHEP following the meeting at which action was taken.
 
8. Special Procedures for Recommendations Requiring Due Process
If the CoA recommends withhold accreditation, probation, or withdraw accreditation, it must first follow due process before forwarding that recommendation to CAAHEP.  Due process allows programs the opportunity to submit additional information and request CoA reconsideration of its decision.
 
If the CoA determines that initial accreditation should be allowed to expire, due process must be followed, but the CoA decision following reconsideration (if requested) is final.
 
9. Accreditation Status Decision by CAAHEP Board of Directors
The CAAHEP Board of Directors reviews all recommendations received from each of its CoAs and takes action on the recommendations at one of its six meetings per year (January, March, May, July, September, and November).  
 
Letters notifying programs of the CAAHEP Board’s decision electronically distributed to the President, Dean and Program Directors of the institution/program the week following the meeting. 
 
10. Continuous Quality Review
CoAs are required to continually monitor programs for effective compliance with published criteria. This effort might include: progress reports, annual reports, and focused site visits. The time period for these items is established by the CoAs.