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 18 to 24 months for institutional applicants and usually up to 12 months for programmatic applicants. There are two travel cycle per year, each followed by a Commission meeting. An initial institutional applicant is required to undergo two on-site visits; 1) a preliminary visit, and 2) a full team visit. Programmatic applicants are not required to undergo a preliminary visit.
The preliminary visit is conducted following receipt of the DRAFT SER as a means of ensuring that the institution complies with all eligibility criteria and is in substantial compliance with ABHES standards. It is also a time for the institution to address any questions or concerns with staff in a consultative manner.
Should it be determined on the preliminary visit that your institution is not in substantial compliance with the ABHES Standards, submission of the FINAL SER will be postponed and the institution may be required to undergo a second preliminary visit; thus, delaying the accreditation process.
*Note for programmatic applicants: At the time of the on-site visit pursuant to Chapter II.B.5 of the Accreditation Manual, at the time of the visit, the program will have student participation in clinical experience activities, as applicable, to permit evaluation of program operations and of student progress, satisfaction, and retention. In addition, the program will have enrolled students who have completed at least 50% of the program, or at least 25% percent of the core coursework.
The application and review process is as follows (see the Application Process link for details):
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 the months of February, April, June, September, and October of each year)
4) Undergo a preliminary visit (following attendance at the accreditation workshop and submission of the DRAFT Self Evaluation Report (SER)) – Institutional Applicants Only
5) FINAL SER submission (May 1 and November 1 of each year)
6) Undergo full on-site team visit (1st Cycle: Jan-May; 2nd Cycle: August - November)
7) Response to team reports (3 weeks from receipt of completed reports)
8) Review and action by the Commission at either of its two meetings held in January and July of each year.
ABHES is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as both an institutional and specialized programmatic accrediting agency with scope that focuses 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 are interested in graduates of either a Medical Assistant, Medical Laboratory Technology and/or Surgical Technology program the eligibility to sit for various credentialing exams in such fields.
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 an institution does not meet the 70% Rule listed above, but it 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: 1) Medical Assistant, 2) Medical Laboratory Technologist, and 3) Surgical Technologist, then programmatic accreditation would be an option. Schools wishing to seek programmatic accreditation must evidence that its applicable program(s) comply with the eligibility criteria outlined in Chapter II, Section B, Programmatic Eligibility.
Schools wishing to seek initial institutional accreditation must ensure that it complies with the Eligibility Criteria outlined in Chapter II, Section A of the Accreditation Manual. When it has determined that it meets 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).
Institutional applicants are also required to provide an audited financial statement prepared in accordance with the principles of GAAP with submission of the FINAL 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 access the link, Apply for Institutional Accreditation, which contains instructions and details regarding the application process.
Schools wishing to seek initial programmatic accreditation must ensure that the program(s) (Medical Assistant, Medical Laboratory Technology, and/or Surgical Technology) 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 for one or more of the following programs: Medical Assisting, Medical Laboratory Technology, and/or Surgical Technology. Once the institution confirms compliance with the programmatic Eligibility Criteria, it must complete the Programmatic Application for Accreditation and submit it along with the following:
1. Completed Ownership Disclosure Form;
2. Completed Attestation of Responsibility;
3. A copy of the current institutional catalog; and
4. Application fee payment (see User Fees for current information).
Schools interested in seeking programmatic accreditation should access the link, Apply for Programmatic Accreditation, which contains instructions and details regarding the application process.
The accreditation workshop is open to all and it is required of any school seeking an initial or renewed 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 valid for a one year period. Should the institution decide to delay the process and/or does not receive its initial grant of accreditation at its originally scheduled Commission meeting, then a second attendance at the accreditation workshop may be required. There are usually five (5) accreditation workshops held each year. See the Listing of Workshops for details. You may also register online at https://www.abhes.org/workshop_registration.
Schools seeking accreditation for the first time should consider the following expenses when budgeting:
$4,000 per campus location
Workshop Registration Fee:
$650 per attendee (schools responsible for travel and lodging expenses for its attendees).
Preliminary On-Site Visit:
*$1,000 deposit – 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 (additional reviewers depends on the number of programs offered); and an ABHES staff member.
For example, in preparation for a 3-member evaluation team, the institution would be required to remit a visit deposit of $4,200 ($700/day x 2 days, x3 evaluators). This deposit must be remitted in the form of a check made out to ABHES and submitted with the final SER.
*NOTE: Upon conclusion of an on-site visit, the institution will be refunded any unused monies or billed for the difference. Should you cancel or postpone the on-site team visit, the deposit will be refunded minus any travel cancellation fees. Failure to remit the visit deposit as directed will result in a late fee assessment and/or a delay in the accreditation process.
Annual Sustaining Fee:
Upon receiving a grant of initial accreditation, an annual sustaining fee is assessed each year of the length of grant awarded by the Commission. The institutional sustaining fee is based upon the institution’s gross annual tuition while the programmatic sustaining fee is based upon the program’s total annual student enrollment.
Click here for a complete listing of all User Fees and the Annual Sustaining Fee Schedule per Appendix I of the Accreditation Manual.
As a leader in health education accreditation for over 40 years, ABHES has been nationally recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a private, non-profit, independent accrediting agency since 1968. It has been at the forefront of advancing the quality of health education programs throughout the country.
ABHES enhances the quality of education and training and promotes institutional and programmatic accountability through systematic and consistent program evaluation. Its key is to assure the quality of the programs it accredits, and assist in the improvement of the programs. This quality-determination is accomplished by rigorous and systematic evaluation based on valid standards.
The goals of ABHES focus on three key areas: recognition, resources, and service; all of which it believes are essential and paramount to achieving its mission.
ABHES-member institutions offer predominantly health education programs and/or medical assistant, medical laboratory technology, and/or 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. Graduates of an ABHES-accredited institution or program are eligible to sit for various credentialing exams optimizing a graduates’ marketability.
ABHES accreditation allows the opportunity for enhancement in that institutions experience the ability to identify strengths and areas in need of improvement for greater institutional/program 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 FINAL 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 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:
SECTION B – Financial Capability
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 audited 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).