The focus of an assessment-based certification program is on education/training, and the focus of its assessment is to verify that learning objectives from that specific education or training were met. A certification program's focus is on the assessment of pre-determined standards for knowledge, skills, or competencies, and it is not tied to any specific coursework. For more information about these distinctions, you may refer to ICE's Defining Features document.
Accreditation offers third-party validation that your program has met established standards for excellence. Accreditation standards for assessment-based certificate programs require a thorough, rigorous, and valid process for initial research, development, implementation, and maintenance. ICE's assessment-base certificate program accreditation is consistent with the international standard, ISO 17011.
Application for ACAP accreditation involves self-evaluation of your program with the ICE 1100 standards, submission of a letter of intent to indicate your readiness for consideration, and submission of an application, which includes narrative explanations and evidence of your program's compliance with the standards. The process is described in detail on the Application Process page.
The Accreditation Council will meet approximately 2-3 months after each application deadline to discuss findings from their thorough review. They will render an initial decision on whether to move forward to the audit process. Following completion of the audit process, the full council will render a decision. The entire process will take approximately 4-6 months, after which formal notification will be sent to the program chief contact.
The audit process allows for verification that the policies and procedures detailed in the application are being followed, with requisite documentation. An on-site audit, generally lasting one day, will be conducted for all programs as appropriate, following initial review of the accreditation application. This audit will involve verification of the program details by an assessor as provided by ICE. Sufficient notification will be provided prior to the audit.
Accreditation is granted for 5 years. An annual report will be required for all accredited programs, beginning in 2014 for those accredited in 2013. This report will provide statistics and updates for the program for the previous year, and the report will be reviewed to ensure continued compliance with the ICE 1100 standards as changes are implemented. More details can be found on the Maintaining Accreditation page