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Get Accredited

Becoming an Accredited Planning Program

There are two application stages for seeking accreditation by the Planning Accreditation Board (PAB); both stages of the application process may together take up to three years.

Stage One: Application for Candidacy Status

A Planning Program (Program) must first apply to become a candidate for accreditation.

  • Step 1 – Confirm your Program meets the five (5) preconditions to accreditation, as outlined in the Letter of Application for Candidacy Status.
  • Step 2 – Once PAB confirms these preconditions have been met, the Program will produce a Self-Study Report that documents compliance with PAB’s standards and criteria. [The Self-Study Report Manual provides a template and instructions on how to prepare the report.]
  • Step 3 – Program will submit a candidacy application fee along with the completed Self-Study Report.
  • Step 4 – PAB will review the Self-Study Report submitted and meet with the Program’s administrator.
  • Step 5 – PAB will determine if Candidacy Status will be awarded to the Program. If the Program moves on to the second stage of the accreditation process, it will be assigned a Fall or Spring Site Visit. Prior to the Site Visit, the Program will submit a revised Self-Study Report (due June 15 for Fall Site Visits or September 15 for Spring Site Visits)
Stage Two: Application for Initial Accreditation

After a Program has been granted Candidacy Status, it can then apply for accreditation.

  • Step 1 – PAB will send a 3-member Site Visit Team to perform an on-site evaluation. Each Site Visit Team is composed of two planning educators and a planning practitioner. The Program is responsible for all costs and logistical aspects of the visit, including arranging for the team to meet with the Program’s faculty, students, alumni, the institution’s administration and members of the local professional planning community. [The Site Visit Manual contains detailed information on the required and recommended elements of the Site Visit schedule.]
  • Step 2 – After the visit, the Site Visit Team will produce a report evaluating the Program according to the PAB Standards and Criteria. The Program will have an opportunity to comment on the Site Visit Report.
  • Step 3 – The Program’s administrator will appear before the PAB Board to respond to questions derived from the Self-Study Report and Site Visit Report. The PAB Board then makes a decision regarding accreditation.

Questions

If you have questions about the application processes for accreditation, please contact Jesmarie Johnson, Executive Director, at 773-334-7200 or jjohnson@planningaccreditationboard.org.

Accreditation Application Timeline

Stage One: Application for Candidacy Status

YEAR ONE

April 1

  • Deadline for Program’s Letter of Intent to pursue Candidacy Status

April – July

  • Program prepares Self-Study Report

August 1

  • Program submits Self-Study Report and candidacy application fee

October or November (at ACSP Conference)

  • Program’s administrator appears before PAB’s Board for Q&A
  • PAB reviews application and, within 30 days, notifies the Program administrator of its decision regarding candidacy status

January

  • If Candidacy Status is granted, PAB notifies the Program of either a Fall or Spring Site Visit

Fall Site Visit Scenario Timeline

YEAR TWO

January – June: 

  • Program revises Self-Study Report, as needed
  • PAB assembles Site Visit Team
  • Program submits an updated Self-Study Report to PAB and distributes the report to its constituents.

August – October

  • Program makes lodging arrangements for Site Visit Team and submits draft of Site Visit Schedule to PAB
  • Local APA chapter and student organization provide written comments about the Program to PAB two weeks prior to the start of the Site Visit

September – November

  • Site Visit Team conducts Site Visit

YEAR THREE

March or April (at APA Conference)

  • Program administrator and Site Visit Team chair appear before PAB Board to answer questions regarding the Program’s review
  • PAB Board meets in closed session and makes accreditation decision
  • Within 30 days, PAB notifies the Program’s CEO, program administrator and other institution administrators.

Spring Site Visit Scenario Timeline

YEAR TWO

January – September

  • Program revises Self-Study Report, as needed
  • PAB assembles Site Visit Team
  • Program submits an updated Self-Study Report to PAB and distributes the report to its constituents.

November – March

  • Program makes lodging arrangements for Site Visit Team and submits draft of Site Visit Schedule to PAB
  • Local APA chapter and student organization provide written comments about the Program to PAB two weeks prior to the start of the Site Visit

YEAR THREE

January – April

  • Site Visit Team conducts Site Visit

October or November (at ACSP Conference)

  • Program administrator and Site Visit Team chair appear before PAB Board to answer questions regarding the Program’s review
  • PAB Board meets in closed session and makes accreditation decision
  • Within 30 days, PAB notifies the Program’s CEO, administrator and other institution administrators.