Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


(updated 2.2014)

I understand that there is a manual of explanation along with the Standards. Where can I find it?

The Accreditation Manual is found in the Standards section of this site.

Are the “suggested evidence of compliance” in the Accreditation Manual really just additional Standards?

No, the suggested evidence of compliance and performance indicators are just that: suggestions for how programs can demonstrate compliance with the Standards. They are not mandatory or exclusive lists and programs should feel free to submit other documentation in addition to or instead of the suggested evidence.

I don't understand when to notify the ARC-PA about changes in class size...there is something about an increase in maximum class size greater than 15%, but I am not sure what that is.

The Standards require that programs must inform and receive approvals required from the ARC-PA using forms and processes developed by the ARC-PA no less than six months prior to implementation of a proposed change in maximum entering class size that will result in an increase of ≥ 10 students or ≥ 15% increase in maximum entering class size as compared to the program’s most recent application for accreditation or as approved by the ARC-PA.

The ARC-PA does allow programs to temporarily increase class size without review by the ARC-PA when the increase is transient and required to accommodate a unique situation such as students delayed in progress through the program. This flexibility is not designed to encourage a program to recruit beyond its maximum class size.  These increases DO NOT modify or reset the ARC-PA approved class size.  They are not meant to be continually increased in successive years. The maximum entering class size is approved by the ARC-PA upon review of the program during a comprehensive review or after a change request from the program.

Programs must notify the ARC-PA if they plan any sustained increase in their maximum entering class size, defined as "maximum potential number of students enrolled for each admission cycle." Such notification will allow both the program and the ARC-PA to track expanding class sizes and aggregate enrollment, which are especially important in relation to program resources.

Forms related to reporting proposed changes to the ARC-PA are available in the Continuing Accreditation section of this site.

What should I do if I don’t understand what a specific standard means?

When in doubt about the meaning of a standard, contact the ARC-PA offices by email at for clarification.

I have comments on changes I think should be made to the Standards. What should I do?

Anyone with comments related to the Standards may provide their comments to the ARC-PA national office. The ARC-PA has a standing committee that reviews and evaluates the Standards and comments received related to them on an ongoing basis. Clarification and changes to wording of the standards to provide clarification can be made by the commission at either of the two ARC-PA meetings per year. Substantial changes to the Standards are made every ten years. Comments may be sent via email to the ARC-PA.

Do the ARC-PA Standards require certain information be gathered from graduate surveys?

The Annotation for C2.01 of the Standards indicates that the "ARC-PA expects results of ongoing self-assessment to include ........ student exit and/or graduate evaluations of the program.” It is up to the program to determine what information/data is best collected for ongoing self-assessment.

Can preceptors still serve as health care providers for students in the program?

Standard A3.09 states that "principal faculty, the program director and the medical director must not participate as health care providers for students in the program, except in an emergency situation." Standard A3.09 does not exclude the possibility of instructional faculty (including preceptors) as health care providers for students, unless of course the person serving as the preceptor is a principal faculty member of the program. It is important to read the definitions in the Standards..