Accreditation Process at a Glance

Step 1 Prepare for Accreditation

Review Resources:

Please review the following documents before starting your Accreditation Process:

Information to Know:

  • The entire Accreditation process takes a minimum of  2 years to complete.
  • A program denied initial accreditation or renewal of accreditation, or a program whose accreditation has been revoked, must wait one (1) year before reapplying.
  • A list of consultants is available from the Accreditation Office.
  • Initial Accreditation is granted for a maximum period of six (6) years. 
  • Renewal of Accreditation is granted for a maximum period of seven (7) years.
  • COAMFTE will publish on its public website a list of programs that intend to seek initial accreditation or renewal of accreditation and provide the opportunity for comment prior to accreditation decision. 
  • COAMFTE respects the actions of the state post-secondary review entities, other accrediting bodies, and other state regulatory agencies.

Attend Accreditation Trainings

Learn more about Accreditation by attending our Accreditation Workshop and Online Webinars by clicking here.

Gather Data

  • Begin collecting data two (2) years in advance of applying for accreditation.
  • Fully implement program policies, processes, resources, outcome-based educational structures, curricular components, and achievement data review consistent with Standards Version 12.5 prior to completing the Letter of Intent.
  • Evaluate program in relation to its outcome-based education framework. 

For further assistance from COAMFTE Staff, email us at coa@aamft.org

Step 2 Letter of Intent

All programs seeking initial or renewal of accreditation are required to submit a letter of intent specifying their intent to seek accreditation.

Submission Deadlines:

  • 6 months prior to Eligibility Criteria Submission (April 1st, October 1st)
  • 6 months prior to Self-Study Submission (April 1st, October 1st) for programs seeking renewal of accreditation. 

Letter should include:

  • Projected date for submission of the Eligibility Criteria or Self-Study materials that are consistent with the schedule of the submission deadlines;
  • Evidence of support from the institutional administration and program faculty;
  • Written on institution letterhead;
  • Signature of Program Director and an institutional administrator.

Information to Know:

  • The letter of intent does not need to include any evidence of program compliance with Accreditation Standards.
  • A program wishing to make a formal application for accreditation should do so only after studying the eligibility criteria and accreditation standards, accreditation process, policies, and procedures, and having discussion with the Director of Accreditation regarding requirements and application deadlines.
  • All programs applying for initial accreditation are required to have a representative attend a COAMFTE accreditation training prior to the submission of an Eligibility Criteria Report.
     

For more information on the letter of intent, please refer to the COAMFTE Accreditation Manual,  Letter of Intent, p. 16.

All submissions via email to coa@aamft.org 

For further assistance from COAMFTE Staff, email us at coa@aamft.org

Step 3 Eligibility Criteria (Program’s seeking initial Accreditation only)

Programs seeking initial accreditation are required to submit the Eligibility Criteria Report providing evidence that the program is qualified for accreditation with each Eligibility Criterion in Standards Version 12.5.

Submission Deadlines: 

  • Spring: April 1st
  • Fall: October 1st

Form(s) Required:

Information to Know:

  • Programs applying for initial accreditation are encouraged to discuss the accreditation timeline with the COAMFTE staff.
  • Eligibility Criteria Process Fee is due the same time as the Eligibility Criteria submission deadline. 
  • Programs are advised to double-check that all links provided in the Eligibility Criteria are working (even after submission).
  • After submitting the Eligibility Criteria, programs must be invited by the Commission to begin the next step of the accreditation process.

Documents Needed : 

  • Verification of institutional accreditation (Master’s and doctoral degree programs)
  • Charter or state license for degree or certificate authority (Post-Degree programs only)
  • Documentation of governance board (post-degree program only)
  • Financial viability letter
  • List of graduates and students
  • Graduate Achievement Data
  • Program Published Materials (Electronic)
  • Link to Program handbook/manual
  • Student Acknowledgement form demonstrating students received information about portability of the degree

For more information please refer to the COAMFTE Accreditation Standards Version 12.5 for more information, Eligibility for Accreditation Process, pp. 8-12)

Format:

  • All components of the Eligibility Criteria must be combined into one PDF document with bookmarks linking to each individual component.
  • Document should be under 25 pages (not including appendices)
  • Document shall not exceed 30 MB
  • Submit document via email to coa@aamft.org

Review Process:

  • Eligibility Criteria documents will be reviewed by Accreditation staff for completeness and compliance with Organization and Submission requirements.
  • Eligibility Criteria documents that are incomplete or do not meet the Organization and Submission requirements will be returned to programs with an explanation and timeline for re-submission.
  • Complete Eligibility Criteria documents will be forwarded to Eligibility Review Committee (ERC) for review.
  • Programs that  submit a substantially complete response to the Eligibility Criteria, addressing all foundational aspects of an accredited program, will be invited to proceed with the accreditation process by submitting a Self-Study. 
  • Programs that do not submit a substantially complete response to the Eligibility Criteria, will need to address the deficiencies and submit the revisions by the next submission deadline. 
  • Revisions that do not demonstrate a substantially complete response, will be referred to the Commission for review at its next meeting.

Resource(s)

For further assistance from COAMFTE Staff, email us at coa@aamft.org

Step 4 Self-Study

Submission Deadlines:

  • Spring: April 1st
  • Fall: October 1st

Organization and Form(s) Required:

The Self-Study must be organized as follows:

  1. Self-Study Narrative Template Version 12.5
  2. Distance Education Form (if applicable)
  3. Hybrid/Blended Education Form (if applicable)
  4. Supporting Appendices (evidence supporting the Self-Study narrative response)
  5. Site Visit Date Request , Conflict of Interest, and Confidentiality Form

Information to Know:

  • Programs seeking initial accreditation that meet the requirements of Eligibility Criteria will be invited to submit their Self-Study. 
  • Programs seeking renewal of accreditation are encouraged to begin the process at least two years prior to the submission of the Self-Study to ensure collection of achievement data and allow for any changes needed to support program effectiveness.
  • The purpose of a Self-Study is to help programs become more effective by clarifying their goals, assessing achievements, identifying problems, and implementing needed changes.
  • The Self-Study fee is due the same time as the Self-Study submission deadline.

Format:

  • All components of the Self-Study must be combined into one PDF document with bookmarks linking to each individual component.
  • Document shall not exceed 30 MB

Submission Instructions:

  1. COAMFTE will send a shared folder, specific for your program, to the program director’s email
  2. Click “Open” in the email to access the program’s shared folder sent by COAMFTE 
  3. Verify your identity by inserting the program director’s email address when asked
  4. Enter the OneDrive verification code that will be sent to the PD’s email address
  5. Upload the Self-Study into the folder
  6. Contact COAMFTE at coa@aamft.org to confirm that the Self-Study has been received
Review Process:
  • Self-Studies documents will be reviewed by Accreditation staff for completeness and compliance with Organization and Submission requirements.
  • Self-Studies that are incomplete or do not meet the Format and Submission requirements will be returned to programs with explanation and timeline for re-submission.
  • Complete Self-Studies will be forwarded to the Accreditation Review Committee (ARC) for review.
  • The ARC will examine the Self-Studies and determine whether a program provided sufficient information to recommend a site visit.

Resource(s): 

For further assistance from COAMFTE Staff, email us at coa@aamft.org

Step 5 Site Visit

Schedule for Site Visits:

  • Spring Cycle: March - May 
  • Fall Cycle: September - November

Site Visits occur over a two-day period. 

Information to Know:

  • Programs that provided substantial information to demonstrate compliance with the Accreditation Standards in their Self-Study,  will be recommended for a Site Visit.
  • The program is responsible for a site visit fee that covers all costs related to the site visit.
  • The Site Visit Team will prepare a preliminary written report before leaving the applicant program, which will be forwarded to the Program Director and Chief Executive Officer of the institution within forty-five (45) days of the site visit completion.
  • Once the Site Visit has been conducted and the Site Visit Team have submitted their report, programs will need to submit a Response to the Site Visit Report (30) days after the Site Visit Report has been sent to the Program Director and the Chief Executive Officer of the institution.
  • At the next Spring or Fall Commissioner's Meeting, the Commission will review the Self-Study, all Site Visit Materials, and any additional documentation submitted by the program before making their accreditation decision.

Resource(s):

For further assistance from COAMFTE Staff, email us at coa@aamft.org

Step 6 Accreditation Review and Decision

The Accreditation Reviewers will carefully examine the Self-Study, Site Visit Report, Program's Response to the Site Visit Report, and any additional documentation submitted. Action Letters will be sent to programs within 30 days of the Commission Meeting. Reviewer recommendations will be forwarded to the Commission as these reviews carry final actions and required a vote. The Commission’s level of analysis will be to review ARC recommendations and ensure that these recommendations are supported by the evidence provided by the program.

Effective Date of Accreditation:

  • May 1st
  • November 1st

Information to Know:

  • Initial Accreditation is granted for a maximum period of six (6) years. 
  • Renewal of Accreditation is granted for a maximum period of seven (7) years.(Shorter periods of accreditation may be awarded at the discretion of the Commission.)
  • A program with deficiencies may be awarded accreditation with stipulations provided they can be corrected within a specified period of time.
  • Programs must clear all stipulations within two (2) years of receiving them.
  • Regardless of the date of the stipulation, programs may elect to submit their response earlier, for an interim review, to clear their stipulations.
  •  Programs that fail to clear all stipulations within the two-year period may have their accreditation revoked.
  • A program denied initial accreditation or renewal of accreditation, or a program whose accreditation has been revoked, must wait one (1) year before reapplying
  • In the event that the Commission requires additional information to complete its review of a program, it may defer rendering a decision. A deferment may not exceed six (6) months.

Resource(s):

For further assistance from COAMFTE Staff, email us at coa@aamft.org

Step 7 Maintenance of Accreditation

Annual Report, Special Report, & Response to Stipulations:

Submission Deadlines:

(For Annual Report, Special Report, and Response to Stipulations only)

  • Spring: January 31st
  • Fall: July 31st

Form(s) Required:

Information to Know:

Annual Report:

  • Each accredited program must demonstrate its continuing compliance with COAMFTE standards through the submission of reports related to the maintenance criterion and an Annual Report.
  • Programs must submit an Annual Report for all years of accreditation on their regular schedule of submission, including the year in which a Self-Study is due.
  • The purpose of the Annual Report is to document the continuing development of accredited programs, noting any changes that have occurred since the last Annual Report or, for new programs, the Self-Study.
  • Accredited programs are required to publish the Graduate Achievement Data (GAD) on their program’s website.
  • The Graduate Achievement Data that is presented in the Annual Report should reflect the Graduate Achievement Data disclosure table presented on the program's website.
  • Programs are advised to double-check that the link to the program's landing/homepage containing the program's GAD disclosure table is working (even after submission).
  • Annual Sustaining/Maintenance of Accreditation Fee is due on January 31st.
  • Programs that do not submit the Annual Report prior to or on the program's report due date will be found in non-compliance, assessed a Late Fee, and placed on notice. 
  • Failure to submit an Annual Report within thirty (30) days of the due date may result in an interim site visit.

Special Report:

  • Programs that have deficiencies in their Annual Report will be required to submit a Special Report by the next submission deadline or as requested by COAMFTE.
  • In a case where a program’s Annual Report and Special Report are not approved, COAMFTE will impose Stipulations. Programs with Stipulations are required to follow and comply with the Corrective Action Policy.
  • Special Report Fee is due the same time as the Special Report submission deadline. 
  • Programs that fail to submit a Special Report Fee by the noted deadline will be assessed a Late Fee.

Response to Stipulations:

  • Programs that do not demonstrate continued compliance with COAMFTE accreditation standards and have stipulations attached, are required to submit their Response to Stipulations consistent with the Timeline for Corrective Actions Policy.
  • Programs must clear all stipulations within two (2) years of receiving them.
  • Regardless of the date of the stipulation, programs may elect to submit their response earlier, for an interim review, to clear their stipulations.
  • Programs that fail to clear all stipulations within the two-year period may have their accreditation revoked.

Substantive Change:

  • Accredited programs are required to notify the Commission (in writing via Substantive Change Form) of any substantive change and receive COAMFTE approval prior to including that change in the accredited program. 
  • For more information on what a Substantive Change is defined as, please refer to the COAMFTE Accreditation Manual , Substantive Change, p. 30.

Review Process:

  • Documents will be reviewed by Accreditation staff for completeness and compliance with Organization and Submission requirements.
  • Documents that are incomplete or do not meet the Organization and Submission requirements will be returned to programs with an explanation and timeline for re-submission.
  • Complete Documents will be forwarded to the Accreditation Review Committee/Commission for review.

Resource(s):

For further assistance from COAMFTE Staff, email us at coa@aamft.org