THE ACCREDITATION PROCESS
The following steps are to be followed for seeking an initial grant of institutional or programmatic accreditation:
1. Retrieve Application Packet
Visit the ABHES Website at www.abhes.org and click the Apply for Institutional Accreditation or Apply for Programmatic Accreditation links which can be found on the bottom left hand side of the homepage. Both links contain instructions with required forms, including the application, eligibility criteria, ownership disclosure forms, fee Schedule, etc.
2. Application Submission
Once you feel that your institution or program meets the Basic Eligibility criteria from Chapter II of the Accreditation Manual and your institution or program is ready to apply for accreditation, complete the Institutional Application for Accreditation or the Programmatic Application for Accreditation and submit it along with the other required documents outlined in the applicable instructions noted in Step 1 above.
3. Self-Evaluation Report (SER) Preparation
Upon receipt of the completed application packet and confirmation that the institution or program meets the eligibility criteria, the institution will be provided the Self Evaluation Report (SER) for completion. There are two SER deadlines each year for initial and renewal applicants in preparation for the two commission meetings held each year. See the Schedule of Events for details.
4. Accreditation Workshop Attendance
ABHES requires that all initial and renewal applicants seeking a grant of accreditation must attend the Accreditation Workshop prior to submission of the completed SER. The Accreditation Workshop is open to all who wish to attend; however, once a school submits application for accreditation, the applicant is required to attend the workshop prior to submission of the SER. The individual(s) designated to attend the workshop should be directly involved in the accreditation and self-evaluation process (e.g., school director, director of education, program director, etc.). See the Workshop Registration for dates and times of upcoming workshops and to register.
5. Preliminary Visit (initial institutional applicants only)
Initial institutional applicants are required to undergo a preliminary visit following attendance at the Accreditation Workshop, but prior to submitting the draft SER. The visit is conducted to confirm eligibility and determine whether the institution is in substantial compliance with the standards in preparation to undergo an on-site team visit. It is also a time for the institution to address any questions or concerns with staff in a consultative manner. The cost to conduct the visit will be borne by the institution. A draft copy of the narrative portion of the SER is required in advance of the preliminary visit for staff review in preparation for the preliminary visit. See the Accreditation Timeline for details.
6. SER Submission
The visiting evaluation team and ABHES commissioners will base their judgments, in part, on the final SER. The self-evaluation questions and evaluation standards are arranged consistently so that the answers can easily be paired with the questions. The institution’s SER, including the narrative and exhibits, is to be submitted electronically to ABHES with specific direction provided.
The narrative portion of the report must be completed in a concise, yet detailed, manner with responses that specify how the institution meets each standard and describe what evidence exists to confirm compliance. Involve broad participation from all constituencies including staff, faculty, students, graduates, employers, and advisory committee members in preparing the report it is required to identify all individuals responsible for completing each section of the report.
7. On-Site Team Visit
Upon receipt of the SER, a staff member will contact the institution to schedule the on-site team visit. Visits are usually scheduled for two days and the number of evaluators is determined by the number of like programs offered by the institution. Each team consists of a team leader, program specialist(s), and an ABHES staff member. The institution is required to send electronic copies on USB drive of its SER to the visitation team, including the ABHES staff member, approximately one month prior to the site visit.
8. Institutional Response
Accrediting procedures provide an institution and program the opportunity to respond to the on-site visitation reports, concentrating specifically on areas of concern and violations, if any. The primary purpose of this step is to provide the institution or program an opportunity to document changes made by the institution or program to evidence compliance with a standard that was cited as a violation in the visitation report(s).
9. Commission Review
The Commission meets at least twice per year and the commissioners are provided with necessary information pertinent to the application, including the institution’s/program’s SER, team report, and its response to the team reports for review and action. The Commission can opt to grant accreditation, defer action, issue a show-cause director (renewal applicants only), or deny an application. The Commission’s decision is then provided to the applicant in writing following the Commission meeting.
10. Annual Report
Upon receipt of a grant of accreditation, schools are then required to complete an Annual Report for the most recent ABHES reporting period, July 1 to June 30. Schools are required to report its activities within the given timeframe and are required to pay an annual sustaining fee that is based upon gross annual tuition for institutional members or annual total program enrollment for programmatic members.