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The Comprehensive Review Process

The accreditation process is continuously evolving. The trend has been from quantitative to qualitative criteria, from the early days of simple checklists to an increasing interest and emphasis on measuring the outcomes of educational experiences. Every five years, CAAHEP accredited O&P programs are re-evaluated for continuing accreditation. The Comprehensive Review includes an external review of the program’s self-study report and a site visit to verify information from the Program’s self-study. The following list outlines the steps involved in the Comprehensive Accreditation Review.

1. The sponsor institution completes a Request for Accreditation Services (RAS)

To initiate the accreditation process, complete a Request for Accreditation Services (RAS) through the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).  

  • The NCOPE Staff is notified when a RAS is submitted.  
  • The RAS can be completed via the CAAHEP Website.
2. The program faculty and administration completes a self-study using the Accreditation Management Portal (AMP)

A Self-Study is a formal continuous process in which all members of an educational institution or program critically examines its structure and substance, judges the program’s overall effectiveness relative to its mission, identifies specific strengths and deficiencies, and indicates a plan for necessary modifications and improvements. In addition, this process should include a consideration of external factors influencing educational directions as well as an assessment of the extent to which the program is in compliance with established accreditation Standards.


  • The self-study process should begin well in advance of the anticipated site-visit, to provide ample time for evaluation of all facets of program operations, and to reach conclusions concerning the extent to which the program is in compliance with the Standards.
  • The process should involve the various constituencies of the program, including administration and faculty, clinical instructors, students, graduates, advisory committee members, and employers if possible.
  • The AMP can be access via the NCOPE Website.
3. A committee of self-study reviewers evaluates the self-study report
  • Self-study reviewers review the Program’s Self-Study in relation to the CAAHEP Standards.
  • Self-study reviewers submit a report to NCOPE.
  • NCOPE shares the self-study reviewers report with the program.
  • An iterative process may occur if additional documentation is requested from the sponsor institution in order to thoroughly assess the self-study.
4. A site visit is performed at the sponsor institution
  • NCOPE assigns site visitors after removing any parties that have a real or perceived conflict of interest with the sponsor institution.
  • Site visitors evaluate the program in relation to the CAAHEP Standards.
  • The site visitors prepares a site visit report, which is submitted to the NCOPE staff.
  • The program is given the opportunity to review the site visitor report for factual accuracy.
  • NCOPE sends a Findings Letter to the program, summarizing the documentation provided by both the self-study reviewers and site visitors.
5. The NCOPE Board of Directors (BOD) reviews the documentation provided throughout the comprehensive accreditation review process and makes a recommendation to CAAHEP
  • The NCOPE board of directors is presented the documentation provided by both sponsor institution, self-study reviewers, and site visitors for assessment.
  • The NCOPE board may petition members of the self-study review or site visit be present during the review process in order to address any questions, comments, or concerns.
  • The NCOPE board votes and a recommendation is moved forward to CAAHEP.
6. CAAHEP awards accreditation after evaluating the CAAHEP BOD's recommendation in addition to the the documentation presented during the comprehensive review process
  • Accreditation decisions are provided to the CoA, Sponsor Institution, and posted publicly on the CAAHEP Website.