The COE is a national accrediting agency of postsecondary occupational education institutions. Each institution seeking accreditation must meet certain requirements, including those that pertain to: institutional mission, educational programs, program and institutional outcomes, strategic planning, resources in learning, facilities, finances and personnel, structure organization, student services and activities, and distance education.
Career and technical schools that are licensed to operate as postsecondary institutions and meet certain other criteria are eligible to apply to the COE for accreditation. Schools that have been denied or dropped from accreditation in the past, however, are not eligible.
The process begins with a letter of intent. A representative from the school then attends a workshop to learn about the Council’s accreditation standards and processes. Next, the school completes the necessary application and delivers it, along with a required financial report, to the Council. If all is in order, a team of two COE representatives visits the school and prepares a preliminary review.
Upon candidacy approval, schools must complete a self-study report, which is followed up by additional school visits and recommendations. If the candidate meets all necessary requirements, accreditation is awarded. Following accreditation, the accredited institution must continue to file self-study reports and receive site visits from the Council on a pre-determined basis to ensure continued compliance.
When a school seeks accreditation, they must have a variety of active programs to offer; these can be traditional, online or blended. However, a minimum of 25% of the school’s full-time enrollment must be educated through traditional means.