Before a business degree program can be accredited by any of the leading agencies, they have to go through a lot of steps that pertain to eligibility, educational requirements, reviews, and more. Not to mention the fees that they have to cover to initiate the overall process of becoming a member of the accreditation board. So, what are some of the most common steps that all business programs will have to go through?
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Becoming a Member of the Accrediting Agency and Acquiring Eligibility
The very first step towards gaining business accreditation for any college program is to become a member of an agency that offers such services. Without a membership, the school will not pass the eligibility test. This part of the process is going to carry some fees as schools must pay to join. The next part is to look into the eligibility criteria and start making modifications. If the accreditation has very strict guidelines, the business program will need to do everything that is necessary to meet them. It is not uncommon for this part of the process to take a year or two as implementing changes may take some time.
Getting a Mentor and Submitting a Formal Application
Once the program’s leaders believe that the degree is ready for accreditation, they will submit their initial inquiry to whatever agency they are working with. Doing so will let them officially begin the process that will be quite extensive. After the board receives the inquiry, they will assign a mentor or some type of an unbiased helper who will go and work directly with the school. The goal here is for the independent helper to facilitate a smooth application process and ensure that the school actually meets all the standards for the accreditation. When the mentor is satisfied with the program, the degree’s leaders will submit a formal application to get accredited. At this point, most of the work that is up to the school has been done.
The accreditation boards use a wide variety of review methods. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), which is the leading accreditation body in the world, for example, relies on a team-based review. During this stage, the entire application of the program is reviewed and all of the standards that must be met are analyzed individually. This step can take anywhere from a few weeks to an entire year or two.
The review could result in a few different outcomes. The best one would be an invitation to officially apply for the accreditation as the program has been approved. Schools could also get a letter of deferment that will postpone their accreditation approval due to some shortcomings. In case that the business degree falls short in multiple areas, however, it will be denied. For denials, any future application will have to be re-started and all of the aforementioned steps must be repeated.
For degrees that pass the eligibility and application process, getting the official accreditation becomes just a matter of time. There might be another final review where the board sends a mentor or some other person to look over everything at the school’s site. In the end, the board will ratify its approval and the business program will receive its accreditation.