Quick Reference Guide to the Accreditation Process

To become accredited, organizations go through eight core steps and two optional ones.

Step Description Available Tools
Step 1 Learn about accreditation process

Quick Reference Guide to Accreditation Process (this page)
Accreditation Resource Book
Accreditation 101 webinar

Step 2 Determine accreditation readiness Online Accreditation Readiness Self-assessment
Step 3 Prepare for core accreditation Free online resources and reference materials (CAPRSS Learning Community; registration required)
Short assessment tools and online courses (Learning Community Plus, coming soon)
Step 4

Become a candidate for Core Accreditation
(Discuss Accreditation Process and fee with CAPRSS Team)

Candidacy checklist
Organization Registration Form (online)


Step 5

Complete and submit three-part Program Inventory

Organization Profile
Welcome Walk Through

Accreditation Self Study 

Step 6 Prepare for and Host Peer Review Site Visit
Site Visit Preparation Guide
Step 7 Receive accreditation determination Understanding the Accreditation Final Report
Step 8 Follow-up after accreditation decision Feedback Form
PIP template (as needed)
Annual Update Report
Step 9 (optional) Apply for accreditation in optional performance domains  
Step 10 (optional) Follow-up after accreditation decision in optional domains  

Step 1:  Learn about the accreditation process 

In this step, PRSS programs will:

  • review website and written background materials on PRSS accreditation
  • consider benefits and costs of accreditation
  • review possible accreditation outcomes; and
  • determine whether accreditation is appropriate for the program

Step 2:  Determine accreditation readiness

CAPRSS wants every program that applies for accreditation to succeed—and for programs to spend the time they need to prepare for accreditation before they apply. In this step, PRSS programs will:

  • complete online Accreditation Readiness Self-assessment
  • identify areas for improvement
  • have a history of at least two years in providing PRSS
  • request and receive applicant assistance (as needed)

Step 3: Prepare for core accreditation

PRSS programs:

  • form an Accreditation Coordinating Committee
  • obtain and review candidacy checklist
  • take a careful look at the standards, criteria, and elements of performance--and use resources and assessment tools to make sure your program is ready in each area
  • begin to collect key information for application
  • discuss accreditation with key stakeholders

Step 4: Become a Candidate for Core Accreditation


  • register for a CAPRSS account 
  • Discuss Accreditation Process fee with CAPRSS Accreditation Team *Payment plans available upon request
  • Organization Online Portal created
  • collect key information for Program Inventory

Step 5: Complete and submit Program Inventory


  • complete three-part program inventory (self-evaluation): (1) Organizational Profile (2) Welcome Walk-through, and (3) Accreditation Self-Study.

Step 6: Prepare for and Host Peer Review Site Visit


  • If a payment plan was offered, all payments should be completed before site visit
  • set dates for Peer Review Site Visit
  • participate in CAPRSS site visit orientation webinar
  • finalize agenda for Peer Review Site Visit (with CAPRSS contact)
  • help CAPRSS with travel logistics
  • announce/introduce the process to your community
  • identify peer participants and community stakeholders to be interviewed during site visit
  • set up resource room for onsite Peer Review Team
  • work with the Peer Review Team, following the agreed upon agenda, for the duration of the site visit
  • celebrate completion of the site visit 

Step 7: Receive Accreditation Determination

  • Approximately six to eight weeks after the Peer Review Site Visit, CAPRSS will notify the candidate of the accreditation decision and any required or recommended areas for improvement.

Step 8:  Follow up after accreditation decision


  • complete feedback survey about the accreditation process
  • if required, submit a performance improvement plan (PIP)
  • submit an Annual Update Report (until time to apply for accrediation again)
  • as desired, participate in the Accreditee Learning Cohort
  • consider opportunities, as desired, to join the committees associated with the accreditation process.

Programs that are not accredited:

  • complete feedback survey about the accreditation process
  • review the process for appealing the accreditation determination, if desired
  • review the Accreditation Report recommendations and develop a performance improvement plan
  • re-apply for accreditation after completion of tasks in the performance improvement plan.