Special Note: The ARC-PA has changed the provisional accreditation process as noted below. Application materials will vary during the early years of the transition in the process, depending on the commission meeting agenda to which a program is assigned. Programs on commission meeting agendas in 2013 and 2014 will receive individual letters regarding requirements.
Accreditation - Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding accreditation-provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.
The provisional accreditation process begins with a thorough review of the planning, organization, and proposed content of a program that is in the advanced planning stages, but not yet operational. The provisional accreditation pathway is the only entry way for proposed new programs into the accreditation process.
The ARC-PA accredits only 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.
A single institution must be clearly identified as the sponsor of the program. Sponsoring institutions applying for provisional accreditation of a new PA program must be authorized under applicable law to provide a program of post-secondary education. They must be accredited by, and in good standing with, a recognized regional accrediting agency and must be authorized by that agency to confer upon graduates of the PA program a graduate degree.
The process involves the basic steps below, as presented here in flow sheet format (revised 12.7.2012)..
Accreditation-provisional status does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. As is true for other accredited programs, serious issues concerning the institution’s or program’s ability to demonstrate compliance with the Standards, at any point in the provisional process, may result in an adverse accreditation action. Programs that fail to achieve accreditation or have accreditation withdrawn may re-enter the provisional process at a later date.
Institutional representatives first should read the accreditation Standards and all Provisional sections of the ARC-PA web site.
To initiate the provisional accreditation process, a representative of the proposed sponsoring institution must contact the ARC-PA to arrange a telephone interview with the Manager of Accreditation Services who will verify institutional eligibility and discuss an overview of the provisional process and next steps in the process.
After determining the program’s eligibility, the ARC-PA provides the program information on the application process and timeline for consideration.
The provisional accreditation review process includes a series of three site visits prior to subsequent commission reviews and accreditation action.
Programs applying for Provisional Accreditation are not eligible to propose a distant campus as a component of the application process. Provisionally accredited programs are not eligible to expand to a distant campus until two years after completing the provisional accreditation process and having obtained accreditation - continued status without an adverse accreditation action during that period of time.
Provisionally accredited programs are not eligible to apply for an increase in class size until two years after completing the accreditation - provisional process and having obtained accreditation - continued status, without an adverse accreditation action during that period of time.
The Accreditation Resources page of the web site contains important information from ARC-PA aimed at helping programs prepare for their ongoing self analysis, prepare for site visits and develop syllabi.
Fifty percent of the Provisional Application Fee is due at time of request for entry into the process for placement on an upcoming ARC-PA agenda that is non-refundable but applied toward Provisional application fee. (Program is responsible for site visit fees for initial provisional visit.)
Accredited programs pay an annual accreditation fee, billed each year in December.
A copy of the current fee schedule is available on the ARC-PA web site. Programs that cancel their site visits within sixty days of their scheduled visits will be responsible for any expenses associated with the visit that have been incurred by the ARC-PA.