FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. How long is the initial application process?
2. What are the procedures for seeking accreditation?
3. What is the difference between institutional and programmatic accreditation?
4. How to apply for institutional accreditation?
5. How to apply for programmatic accreditation?
6. When am I required to attend the accreditation workshop?
7. How much does it cost to seek accreditation?
8. What are the benefits of seeking ABHES accreditation?
9. Can ABHES accreditation be used to establish eligibility for Title IV programs?
10. Is an audited financial statement required to obtain ABHES accreditation?
Generally, the initial application process takes between 12-18 months for institutional applicants and usually up to 12 months for programmatic applicants. There are two Commission meetings per year where schools are reviewed; thus, there are two travel cycles per year. An initial institutional applicant is required to undergo two on-site visits; a preliminary visit and then a full team visit. Initial programmatic applicants only undergo the full on-site team visit (initial programmatic applicants are not required to undergo a preliminary visit).
Initial institutional applicants are not permitted to undergo two visits within the same travel cycle. See the Initial Review Schedule for details regarding actual dates.
*Note for programmatic applicants: At the time of the on-site visit pursuant to Chapter III.A.4 of the Accreditation Manual, the program must have enrolled students who have completed at least 25% of the program to permit evaluation of basic program operations and of student progress, student satisfaction, and retention.
The application and review process is as follows (see the Application Process for details explaining the steps below):
1) Application submission
2) Self Evaluation Report (SER) provided for completion (Upon acceptance of the application)
3) Attendance at an ABHES Accreditation Workshop, usually held in February, April, June, September & October each year)
4) Undergo a preliminary visit (following attendance at the accreditation workshop, but prior to submission of the SER) – Institutional Applicants Only
5) SER submission (May/December deadlines - See Accreditation Timeline for actual dates)
6) Undergo a full on-site team visit (1st Cycle: Jan-May; 2nd Cycle: July-October)
7) Response to team reports (3 weeks from receipt of completed reports)
8) Review and action by the Commission (July and December meetings)
What is the difference between institutional and programmatic accreditation?
ABHES is the only agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as both an institutional and specialized accreditor focusing on health care education and training. Generally, schools that wish to seek institutional accreditation are not currently accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Schools wishing to seek programmatic accreditation are already accredited by a recognized agency, but would like for graduates of either its Medical Assistant, Medical Laboratory Technology and/or Surgical Technology programs the eligibility to sit for an applicable credentialing exam.
Schools wishing to seek institutional accreditation must offer at least 70% health education, which is defined as an educational institution that offers programs predominantly in the health education field. An institution meets this requirement if (1) 70 percent or greater of its full-time equivalent students are enrolled in the health programs, or (2) 70 percent of its active programs are in the health education field, provided that a majority of an institution's full-time equivalent students are enrolled in those programs. A program is active if it has a current student enrollment and is seeking to enroll students. Institutional applicants must evidence that it meets all of the eligibility criteria outlined in Chapter II, Section A, Institutional Eligibility of the Accreditation Manual.
If the institution does not meet the 70% Rule listed above, but is currently institutionally accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and/or CHEA and offers one of the following three programs, then programmatic accreditation would be more suitable: 1) Medical Assistant, 2) Medical Laboratory Technologist, and 3) Surgical Technologist, then programmatic accreditation is a likely option. Schools wishing to seek programmatic accreditation must evidence that it complies with all of the eligibility criteria outlined in Chapter II, Section B, Programmatic Eligibility.
Schools wishing to seek institutional accreditation for the first time must first ensure that it complies with the eligibility criteria outlined in Chapter II, Section A of the Accreditation Manual. When it has determined it meets all of the criteria, a school may seek accreditation by completing the Institutional Application for Accreditation and submit it along with the following:
1. Completed Ownership Disclosure Form,
2. A copy of the current institutional catalog, and
3. Application fee payment (see User Fees for current information).
Initial applicants are also required to provide audited financial statements prepared in accordance with the principles of GAAP with submission of the SER. It is important to note that a grant of accreditation will be contingent upon receipt, review and approval of the audited statements.
Schools interested in seeking institutional accreditation should see the Accreditation Process to download the institutional instructional letter, which explains the application process in full.
Schools wishing to seek programmatic accreditation for the first time must first ensure that the program(s) complies with the eligibility criteria outlined in Chapter II, Section B of the Accreditation Manual. NOTE: Only institutions that are currently institutionally accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or CHEA can seek programmatic accreditation with ABHES for the following programs: Medical Assisting, Medical Laboratory Technician, and/or Surgical Technology programs. Once the institution confirms compliance with the eligibility criteria, it must complete the Programmatic
Application for Accreditation and submit it along with the following:
1. Completed Ownership Disclosure Form,
2. A copy of the current institutional catalog,
3. Application fee payment (see User Fees for current information), and
4. Completed Attestation of Responsibility
Schools interested in seeking programmatic accreditation should see the Accreditation Process to download the programmatic instructional letter, which explains the application process in full.
The accreditation workshop is open to all, but it is required of any school seeking an initial grant of accreditation. A representative from each campus location, if seeking institutional accreditation, or each program, if seeking programmatic accreditation is required to attend an Accreditation Workshop prior to submission of the Self Evaluation Report (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.). The workshop attendance is good for a one year period. Should the institution decide to delay the process and/or not receive its initial grant of accreditation at its originally scheduled Commission meeting, then a second attendance at the workshop may be required. There are usually four accreditation workshops held each year. See the Workshop Listing for details regarding upcoming workshops.
Schools seeking accreditation for the first time should budget the following:
$4,000 per campus location
Workshop Registration Fee:
$800 per attendee (schools responsible for travel and lodging expenses of its attendees)
Preliminary On-Site Visit:
$1,000 deposit (there is no fee for the visit, but travel expenses for the ABHES representative will be borne by the institution) – Institutional Applicants Only
On-Site Team Visit:
$700 per day, per evaluator (Each team visit is scheduled for two days and the number of evaluators depends on the number of like programs offered by the institution. Generally, there is a minimum of 3 evaluators; 1 to review the administration; 1 to review the program; and an ABHES staff member.
Annual Sustaining Fee:
Upon receiving a grant of initial accreditation, an annual sustaining fee is required for each year of the length of grant. The institutional sustaining fees are based upon the institution’s gross annual tuition, which starts at $2,200 for institutions’ grossing between $0 and $199,000.
The programmatic sustaining fees are based upon the program’s total annual student enrollment, which starts at $1,500 for enrollments from 1 to 75 students.
Click here for a complete listing of all User Fees and the Annual Sustaining Fee Schedule per Appendix I of the Accreditation Manual.
ABHES is recognized by the United States Department of Education for the accreditation of private, postsecondary institutions in the United States offering predominantly health education programs and the programmatic accreditation of medical assistant, medical laboratory technician and surgical technology programs leading to a certificate, diploma, Associate of Applied Science, Associate of Occupational Science, Academic Associate , or Baccalaureate degree, including those offered via distance education.
Credentialing Eligibility – optimize your graduates’ marketability by enabling them to sit for a number of credentialing examinations.
Prestige & legitimacy – ABHES is the only agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as an institutional and specialized accreditor focusing on health care education and training.
Opportunity for enhancement – experience the ability to identify strengths and areas in need of improvement for greater institutional effectiveness through dynamic workshops, staff assisted self-study, and site visits by experienced and credentialed health specialists.
As a recognized accrediting agency by the U.S. Secretary of Education, ABHES is deemed to be a reliable authority concerning the quality of education or training offered by the institutions of higher education or higher education programs it accredits. Accreditation by ABHES may be used to establish eligibility to participate in Title IV programs. ABHES does not process, assist or have any decision-making abilities regarding schools seeking to participate in Title IV funding. Institutionally-accredited member schools interested in Title IV funding must contact the U.S. Department of Education directly at www.ed.gov.
An institution must submit an audited financial statement with submission of its completed Self Evaluation Report (SER). A grant of accreditation will be contingent upon receipt, review and approval of the audited statements.
In an effort to assess an initial applicant’s eligibility with the Bureau ABHES, each applicant should meet the minimum financial stability eligibility requirements stated below.
Initial applicant institutions must submit audited financial statements, which include a balance sheet, an income statement covering a twelve-month period, a statement of cash flows, and all appropriate disclosures (including footnotes). These financial statements must be prepared by an outside agency or individual according to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) on an accrual basis.
Please use the Financial Review Checklist to indicate whether the statements meet the guidelines.
Per the ABHES Accreditation Manual, the following financial standards are required:
IV.B.1. An institution demonstrates that it has the financial resources to ensure continuity of operation and to fulfill its obligations to students and employees.
The financial well-being of an institution requires regular oversight by management. There is demonstration that revenues and assets are available to meet the institution’s responsibilities, including continuity of service and the accomplishment of overall educational objectives.
IV.B.2. An institution demonstrates that it meets the minimum current ratio, profitability, and net worth requirements.
Minimally, an institution’s financial statements evidence the following:
a. A ratio of current assets to current liabilities that is at least 1:1 for the most recent operating year;
b. A history of operating surpluses for the most recent two years; and
c. A positive net worth for its most recent operating year (i.e., total assets which exceed the institution's total liabilities).