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

Section 4 – Seeking Accreditation: What You Need to Know

Navigating the Candidacy Process

The CAA has established a step-by-step process for those programs contemplating applying for candidacy. Once an application for candidacy has been received, the step-wise review process builds on different levels of review:

  • Level 1-Readiness Review (Consultation)
  • Level 2-Official Application, Candidacy Site Visit, and Candidacy Decision (see Section 4, Participating in a Candidacy Site Visit)
  • Level 3-Program Improvement/Maintenance (Annual Progress Reports)

For more details about these processes, consult Chapter XVI Procedures for Achievement and Maintenance of Candidacy Status in the Accreditation Handbook and/or the CAA and accreditation staff at

CAA's decision to award candidacy status is based on the program's submission of a comprehensive development plan (which is presented in the form of the candidacy application) and the program's and institution's demonstrated commitment and ability to implement the program fully. The application must describe for each accreditation standard the program's

  • plan for development and its current status in developing that component,
  • schedule for implementation of various aspects of the program,
  • evidence of progress made toward compliance with all accreditation standards.

Although compliance with all accreditation standards is not required at the time of award of candidacy, CAA expects programs to continue to develop and achieve compliance with the Standards for Accreditation in a logical sequence over several years. This sequence allows new programs to evolve over time and allows administrators to secure necessary resources to support the program, while being closely monitored by the CAA.

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