About Accreditation

Accreditation is a process of external peer review. In the United States, the accreditation system is administered primarily by non-governmental, voluntary organizations that grant recognition to institutions or specialized programs of study that meet established qualifications and educational standards. Compliance with such standards is determined through initial and subsequent periodic evaluations.

The accreditation process:

  • encourages educational institutions and programs to continuously evaluate and improve their processes and outcomes
  • helps prospective students identify programs that meet nationally accepted standards
  • protects programs from internal and external pressures to make changes that are not educationally sound
  • involves faculty and staff in comprehensive program evaluation and planning and stimulates self-improvement by setting national standards against which programs can be measured
Accreditation also benefits society by providing reasonable assurance of quality educational preparation for professional licensure and practice.

Entering the Accreditation Process

New PA programs enter the accreditation process via the Provisional Pathway. See more on this in the Accreditation Types and Terms of this section or under the Provisional section of this web site.

Geographic Scope

The ARC-PA only accredits qualified PA programs offered by, or located within, institutions chartered by, and physically located within, the United States, and where students are geographically located within the United States for their education. (The United States are defined as “the fifty States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Wake Island, the Midway Islands, Kingman Reef, and Johnston Island.”)

The ARC-PA does not accredit educational programs leading to the PA credential in institutions that are chartered outside the United States or programs provided in foreign countries by ARC-PA accredited U.S. PA programs.