How Do I Choose a Programmatic Accrediting Organization?

How Do I Choose a Programmatic Accrediting Organization?

By Dr. Phyllis Okrepkie (Interim President IACBE)

We encourage potential students to research the kinds of recognition and accreditations that colleges and universities they plan to attend hold, so doesn't it make sense that as a higher education institution, we should research who recognizes our accreditors?

All of the United States regional accreditors and many of the national accreditors are recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and/or the United States Department of Education. In addition to institutional and national accreditors, there are programmatic accrediting organizations that are recognized by CHEA. These are specialized accreditors that accredit specific programs, such as business, healthcare, or nursing programs within an institution of higher education.

Accreditation organizations that seek CHEA recognition must demonstrate that they adhere to the following CHEA recognition standards:

  • Advance academic quality,
  • Demonstrate accountability,
  • Encourage, where appropriate, self-scrutiny and planning for change and needed improvement,
  • Employ appropriate and fair procedures in decision making,
  • Demonstrate ongoing review of accreditation practice, and
  • Possess sufficient resources.

So why would a programmatic accrediting organization seek CHEA recognition? The answer is simple, they see the importance of advancing academic quality and demonstrating accountability. In addition, they seek external validation that they are accomplishing these things.

CHEA recognition requires the accreditor to undergo a periodic review by CHEA and to be in compliance with the CHEA recognition standards.

As you research programmatic accreditation opportunities, ask yourself the following question -

  • Is the program-level accreditor recognized by CHEA - In other words, has the accreditor undergone an external review to validate what they are doing?

The IACBE gained CHEA recognition in January 2011.

The IACBE has recently added the accreditation of business programs at institutions of higher education that offer only associate degrees in business to its’ scope of accreditation. The IACBE is working with CHEA, and once an associate degree-only school has earned accreditation, the IACBE will request a change of its’ CHEA-recognized scope.

At this time, the IACBE’s CHEA-recognized scope of accreditation is as follows:

The IACBE accredits associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral-levels in institutions of higher education worldwide that grant bachelor’s and/or graduate degrees. The IACBE does not accredit business programs of institutions of higher education that offer only associate degrees in business. (2011) 

Please contact the IACBE at 913-631-3009 or email at if you have questions.

Additional information about CHEA-recognized accreditors is available at

Higher Education Trends, IACBE News Briefs

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