American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Guide to Starting an Academic Program in
Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD)

Section 4 - Seeking Accreditation: What You Need to Know

Verifying Eligibility Conditions for Candidacy

The CAA has identified specific eligibility conditions for the institution of higher education and for the program that must be met for an application for candidacy to be considered. The CAA will review applications for candidacy (or preaccreditation) from newly developed entry-level graduate degree programs that meet all institutional and programmatic eligibility requirements, which are fully described in the Candidacy Manual.

Developing programs must keep in mind the schedule of events and required components of the accreditation process and how they are configured within the overall timeline to launch the program. Submission of an application for candidacy to the CAA will fall between major milestones of the program-receipt of final approval by the state or other authorizing body and the matriculation of the first graduate students in the new program. Also note that the institution of higher education that houses the graduate program must hold full accreditation from the relevant regional accrediting body.

To meet CAA's eligibility requirements for candidacy, the applicant program must have received all institutional and governing body approvals prior to submitting its application for review by the CAA. This includes all appropriate state or other governing authority approvals (e.g., state higher education agency or university board of regents, as defined by the type of institution). Another eligibility condition, which serves as a protection for potential students, mandates that (a) program administrators must not enroll graduate students until such time that candidacy status has been awarded by the CAA and (b) program administrators must agree to adhere to this policy when they submit the application to CAA.

Programs are expected to file their candidacy application 18 months before the program is expected to open. This is the estimated time that it will take program administrators to complete the CAA's candidacy review process, including conducting a site visit to the campus. Program administrators should allow adequate time for CAA's review and feedback on the applicant program's development plan. Please note that timelines outlined in the Candidacy Manual are estimates and are dependent on the program's ability to demonstrate readiness to offer the graduate program. Therefore, some programs may take longer than others to advance through CAA's candidacy process.

A program may submit its application for review at any time; final decisions awarding candidacy status occur during the CAA's scheduled decision-making meetings. The CAA has designated specific reporting milestones and timelines to assist in planning for new programs that are seeking candidacy status with the CAA.

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