Accreditation procedures are designed to take applicant programs through several stages of documentation, review, and analysis. Depending on the outcome of a review, PCSAS may require varying amounts of additional follow-up reporting. The normal review cycle for programs receiving accreditation is every ten years; however, PCSAS expects annual reports and may request a more detailed intra-cycle review if concerns from annual reports or other information warrant closer monitoring. A program's accreditation status may be changed at any point during the ten year cycle if the Review Committee (RC) determines, based on new information, that a program's performance no longer merits accreditation.
Steps of the application process:
- establishment of program eligibility (with Letter of Intent and Applicant Agreement);
- program self-study;
- submission of application (with payment of Application Fee);
- assignment of RC's program-specific reviewers;
- arrangements for on-site review;
- completion of on-site review;
- preliminary written report by review team;
- program's response to preliminary report;
- RC meeting, review, and decision;
- summary report of RC's evaluation and final decision sent to program;
- RC decision made available to the public;
- monitoring of program-supplied annual and interim reports;
- self-study and renewal application near the end of the ten-year accreditation cycle.
All applications are to be submitted electronically (see Application Template). Where feasible, correspondence regarding applications, scheduling, and official matters other than RC deliberations about specific applications will be carried out electronically, as well, to preserve a record of these interactions, minimize misunderstandings, and maximize transparency.
Costs: The accreditation fees and annual dues are in line with those charged by similar accreditation agencies. Expenses associated with site visits are covered as part of the application fee. (For a detailed outline of costs, see the Application Template page in the appendix of the POPP Manual, found at the top of the "Relevant Publications and Links" webpage.)
Calendar: The RC meets twice each year (normally in May and November/December) to review applications. There are no deadlines for submission of inquiries regarding eligibility, including a Letter of Intent. However, completed applications are due no later than three months prior to the RC meeting at which they are scheduled to be reviewed (i.e., September 1 and February 1). No application will be deemed submitted and complete until the application fee has been paid in full and a signed Accreditation Agreement has been filed. Site visits should be completed no later than one month prior to the applicant program's scheduled evaluation by the RC. Programs may expect to receive official notice of the RC decision approximately one month following the RC meeting.
Questions about applications should be directed to PCSAS Executive Director Alan Kraut, akraut@PCSAS.org; 301-455-8046.