What is accreditation? 
Accreditation is a status granted to an educational institution or a program that has been found to meet or exceed stated standards of educational quality. In the United States, accreditation is voluntarily sought by institutions and programs and is conferred by non-governmental bodies.

What programs are eligible for ACPHA accreditation?
In order to be eligible for ACPHA accreditation, the program must meet the following initial criteria:

  • must be part of an educational institution accredited by a regional or national accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education. An international program may petition the Accreditation Commission for its review to determine whether the program fulfills the intent of this condition;
  • has statement of mission and objectives appropriate to a postsecondary program;
  • offers postsecondary educational instruction leading to an associate or baccalaureate degree (or their equivalents) in hospitality administration;
  • must have institutional approval for courses and degree(s) offered;
  • has a formally designated director (or the equivalent) of the program;
  • has been in continuous operation for at least four years and has had at least three years of graduating classes by the time of review;
  • has a teaching faculty assigned to the program;
  • makes freely available to all interested persons (and especially to its potential and enrolled students) an accurate, fair, and substantially complete description of its program and related activities, policies, and procedures;
  • admits students under policies and procedures that are appropriate to the program and does not discriminate with respect to age, sex, ethnic background, race, creed, or disability.

What are the main benefits of ACPHA accreditation?
A recent survey of accredited facilities indicates that the advantages and benefits of accreditation are numerous and include (1) the assessment of a program’s strengths and weaknesses, (2) the identification of obtainable improvement or goals, (3) the implementation of state-of-the-art policies and procedures, (5) recognition of quality, (6) attract a larger body of interested students, (7) instill a higher level of staff professionalism and morale.

Why do programs seek accreditation?
The three most frequently cited reasons are: 1) to ensure that the program is in compliance with nationally recognized standards, 2) it puts a stamp of approval on graduates: graduating from an accredited institution indicates that graduates are ready to practice at a certain level, 3) it provides educational programs with opportunities for self-definition and self-reflection, and with feedback on program content and direction and affords the opportunity for continuous improvement of institutions and educational programs.

What is the timeline for accreditation?
The accreditation process usually takes up to 12 months. While individual accreditation awards last seven years, the accreditation process is designed to be continuous through reaccreditation.

What is the Accreditation Commission for Program in Hospitality Administration ACPHA?
ACPHA is a private, nonprofit body that is comprised of hospitality, tourism and business professionals from across the country. Its composition ensures that the Commission is completely independent and impartial. The main responsibility of the Commission is to conduct the accreditation hearings to verify that those agencies applying for accreditation comply with the applicable standards.

Who are members of the Commission?
The Commission is governed by an 11-member Board of Commissioners who are elected/appointed from the following categories:

  • Hospitality Education Representatives (8)
  • Hospitality and Related Industries Representatives (2)
  • Public At-Large (1)

What are ACPHA Standards?
ACPHA standards set a national benchmark for the effective instruction of programs throughout the United States and are necessary to ensure that these programs are professionally administered. They address curriculum, resources and staffing essential to good program, including administrative and fiscal controls, staff development, facilities, library, and other areas of concern. Standards reflect practical, up-to-date policies and practices that ensure the strength of the program.

Who sets ACPHA standards?
A Standards Committee, required by ACPHA bylaws, revises accreditation standards based on changing practices and current educational and industry expectations. Those standards approved by the commission reflect the views of education professionals, as well as business and industry experts.

Who are members of the ACPHA Standards Committee?
The Standards Committee consists of 3-5 appointed members designated by the Commission’s Executive Committee.

Who uses ACPHA standards?
The application and implementation of standards have expanded to include all two and four-year programs seeking accreditation.

Are there different standards for different types of programs?
No. The Commission currently publishes one set of standards, which applies to all programs.

How are the standards revised?
The Standards Committee reviews documents for necessary revisions, deletions and additions at least annually in conjunction with the ACPHA Summer Commission Meeting. Proposals for changes are garnered from the field following site visits, changes in industry requirements or the filing of annual reports.

How many standards must a program comply with in order to receive accreditation?
To be awarded accreditation, applicants must comply with 100% of the applicable mandatory standards and be able to develop a response on their plans to meet any standards not met during the initial visit.


How do I initiate the process?
The Program should complete and submit the Application for Accreditation and send to the ACPHA office along with the requisite application fee.

What happens after a program submits their application? 
Once this contact is made, the Office will send a letter outlining the timeline for submission of the Self-Study and the visit details. ACPHA staff may be reached at 1-410-226-5427.The program should also identify its appointment of an accreditation coordinator.

What materials do I receive after the accreditation contract is executed?
None, all materials are available online.

What publications will assist me in this process?
ACPHA has available individualized services (upon request) to assist the program with becoming familiar with the standards and their application through accreditation.

The following documents are available online at our website:

  • ACPHA Planning Guide
  • ACPHA Application for Accreditation
  • ACPHA Self-Study
  • ACPHA Eligibility Requirement for Program Seeking Accredited Status
  • Fee Schedule
  • Annual Report
  • ACPHA Program Student Profile
  • ACPHA Program Faculty Profile
  • ACPHA Program Financial Profile
  • ACPHA Itinerary For Accreditation Visit
  • ACPHA Post Visit Response

What if I need help during this process? 
Contact the ACPHA office for assistance with standards interpretations, procedural issues or self-evaluation information, and document preparation questions. If you feel that on-site assistance is needed, the ACPHA office can discuss this option with you.

What person should serve as the accreditation point of contact at our Program?
The accreditation coordinator should be a member of the instructional staff with solid educational and administration experience and excellent delegation skills. He/she should have good access to the program director and all relevant materials.

When do I schedule my visit?
Upon receipt of your Self-Study the Acpha Office will contact you to begin the process of arranging a Team and establishing potential visit dates in conjunction with the needs of the program. There is usually a window of 8-10 weeks lead time given in the selection of the proposed dates.

What activities occur following the scheduling of the visit date?
ACPHA staff will select a visiting team to conduct the visit and submit to you for your approval. Once you approve the Team Chair and Members; the Chair will contact you to confirm appointment. The individual team members will make their own travel arrangements; however, it is your responsibility to provide assistance to the team as requested and to reimburse the team for all travel expenses upon submission of a Request for Reimbursement immediately following the visit.

What is the Self-Study Report?
ACPHA requires that a Self-Study be completed by each applicant program for accreditation or reaccreditation. Information contained in this report includes their compliance with mandatory and non-mandatory standards; a full description of the Self-Study is provided as a PDF on our website. The Self-Study is due to ACPHA prior to the scheduling of the visit.

Who are the Team Members?
ACPHA Site Teams are hospitality/tourism/industry professionals who are selected and trained by ACPHA. The average Chair and Team Member has worked in the field of hospitality/tourism education or business and has experience in the instruction and evaluation for the program being visited.

What happens after the Team Visit?
After completing the visit, the team will file a written report with its findings to the program. The program will have an opportunity to make factual corrections before the final report is submitted to ACPHA. The program is then notified to submit their official response to the report before it is presented to the ACPHA Commission for action.

What are the factors that the ACPHA considers in the decision to award or deny accreditation?
Accreditation decisions are based upon the totality of the site visit report and conditions gathered during the visit with the program and includes their level of standards compliance.

What happens after a program becomes accredited?
The program is presented an accreditation award and certificate and is eligible to publicly announce their recognized status. This achievement is a considerable honor among other Programs. Accreditation, however, is an ongoing process and accredited programs are required to submit annual reports to certify that they continue to comply with ACPHA standards.

What are the annual report requirements?
During the seven-year accreditation period, the Program submits an annual report that is due each year in December. It contains the following information: current standards compliance levels, update of plans of action, significant events including changes in the program administration and/or major staffing changes; mission change or program revisions; changes in the physical facilities including planned renovations, financial or budget changes along with a current Student and Financial Profile. ACPHA staff reviews the annual report received from the program and presents to the Commission at their Winter Meeting and then responds to the program to clarify issues or request additional information or to acknowledge acceptance of the report as filed.

What is reaccreditation?
For the most part, reaccreditation is a continuation of initial accreditation. It occurs every seven years. Since standards are being revised constantly, it may involve compliance with some new or updated standards.

What are the procedures for reaccreditation? 
An informational letter will be generated automatically by ACPHA and sent to you approximately twelve months prior to the expiration of your current award with the details on filing for reaccreditation. The same process as initial accreditation is followed.


Q What if I have further questions?

A Please feel free to contact our office at the following address:

Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration
PO Box 400
Oxford, MD 21654

Phone: (410) 226.5527
Email: info@acphacommission.org