Understanding APA Accreditation
CHEA Eligibility Statement
At its meeting on Sept. 19-20, 2011, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) Board of Directors reviewed the recommendation of the CHEA Committee on Recognition regarding the eligibility application submitted by the American Psychological Association Commission on Accreditation (APA-COA). The board of directors determined that APA-COA is eligible to undertake a recognition review. APA-COA will complete a self-evaluation providing evidence that it meets the CHEA recognition standards. CHEA requires an observation visit to a decision-making meeting of the accrediting organization to observe decision-making activities as these relate to CHEA eligibility and recognition standards. The CHEA Committee on Recognition will review the self-evaluation, the report of the observation visit and any third-party comment and make a recommendation to the CHEA Board of Directors. The CHEA Board of Directors will make the final determination of recognition status.
About the APA-CoA
The APA Commission on Accreditation (APA-CoA) is recognized by both the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, as the national accrediting authority for professional education and training in psychology. Accordingly, the APA-CoA’s accreditation policies, procedures and guidelines are intended to be consistent with national recognized purposes and values of accreditation, as articulated by governmental and nongovernmental groups with an interest in accreditation.
View the Commission on Accreditation members
View the Policies for Accreditation Governance, Implementing Regulation A-1 (PDF, 285KB)
The APA-CoA accredits:
Doctoral graduate programs in clinical, counseling and school psychology, and programs offering combinations of two or more of these areas. The primary professional degrees offered are the PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) and PsyD (Doctor of Psychology). Accredited doctoral programs provide broad and general training in scientific psychology and in the foundations of practice, and have as a goal to prepare students for the practice of professional psychology.
Internship programs in professional psychology that are a required component of doctoral training.
Post-doctoral residency programs that provide education and training in preparation for professional practice at an advanced level of competency in traditional and specialty practice areas of psychology.
The APA-CoA does not accredit schools or universities, or programs at the bachelor’s or master’s levels. In addition, accreditation applies only to programs — it is not a credential that individuals can obtain.
Explaining Accreditation to Students and the Public
In addition to the FAQs on this website, the resources below may help to understand the accreditation process. The APA-CoA is an active member of the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors (ASPA), which forms a collaborative forum and a collective voice for the community of U.S. accrediting agencies that assess the quality of specialized and professional higher education programs and schools. ASPA has developed four briefing papers and a video to help educate the public on the process of accreditation:
Standards, Outcomes and Quality (PDF, 39KB)
Basic Elements of Accreditation Explained (PDF, 36KB)
Peer Review (PDF, 40KB)
A Comparison of Accreditations (PDF, 36KB)