Ready, Set, Grow! – Three Steps to Developing Your Accreditation Plan

The path to accreditation often brings about beneficial organizational improvements that take thoughtful time and preparation to put into action.  Following a clear plan will help your organization efficiently maximize its effort and reach its goals on schedule.  We offer these three valuable tips that will assist your agency during its accreditation journey.

Develop a realistic timeline

  • If accreditation is mandated by your state or association, there is likely a clear deadline for earning accreditation. If not, an agency will have a bit more flexibility in determining its accreditation timeline.  Either way, developing a realistic accreditation timeline is essential for two reasons: First, it makes good business sense to set a clear objective (measuring progress prevents the process from dragging on indefinitely!), and second, a tentative ‘ready date’ will be helpful to the accrediting body for scheduling your onsite survey.  Note that once you’ve provided the accrediting agency with a date and if you later need to change it, there may be a fee to reschedule. Begin with your desired accreditation date and work backward based upon the accrediting body’s process. Doing so will highlight when you need to formally apply and when your preparation must be co

Develop an estimate of accreditation preparation time for your organization

  • Begin with a thorough review of accreditation requirements by comparing those that are easily met with those that will require more extensive time and effort. Estimate preparation time as accurately as possible considering current staff level and availability and ease of gathering the necessary information.
  • Ask your accrediting body for a general timeframe for an organization of your size and structure to be sure that your timeline is realistic. If you have employees who have been through the accreditation process before, or your agency already meets many of the accreditation requirements, overall preparation time may be less than originally expected.

Determine whether your timeline is accurate

  • Thoroughly consider whether your planned preparation time accurately reflects your desired accreditation date. If it appears that preparation time may fall short, consider lengthening your timeline, rebalancing key staff, adding additional staff hours for accreditation purposes, or hiring additional staff members or an accreditation consultant to lead the agency through the accreditation process.

Once your timeline is set, begin scheduling your preparation steps and corresponding communication needs. Many organizations find it beneficial to assign someone to lead the accreditation process, either from within or via an accreditation expert/champion, and to develop an accreditation team of key leadership and stakeholder groups from within the agency who will work collaboratively to guide your organization toward its accreditation goal.

Accreditation Guru is here to assist your agency with its accreditation needs. If we can provide you with any information, please contact Jennifer at 212.945.8504 or send your questions to

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