What Specialties and/or Majors Have Their Own Accrediting Bodies?

Accreditation has become a sign of the reputation and quality standards associated with today’s colleges and universities, and while most post secondary schools possess some type of accreditation, many of their degree programs have earned separate accreditation credentials from their own accrediting bodies. These accreditation bodies are important because they provide a link between industry and academia that allows schools to update program curriculum based upon the latest industry challenges and opportunities. Also, some employers look more favorably upon graduates of programs with these accreditation credentials. Here are some common degree majors that have their own accrediting bodies.

Business Majors

Certain business degree concentrations at the undergraduate level and above have their own accreditation group called the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). This accreditation organization promotes the advancement of quality business education worldwide through its body of standards backed by rigorous research. The two majors that may apply for AACSB accreditation are specializations of business administration and accounting. The application process is a comprehensive one that requires that each program meets the organization’s accreditation standards by undergoing self-evaluation and a peer review process. The process begins with an eligibility application that requires the school to commit to aligning with the AACSB core values that includes the promotion of ethical academic practices and socially responsible norms. The accreditation candidate program also must verify that they are an established entity that has the infrastructure needed for an interactive, collaborative learning environment for its faculty and students. Colleges and universities can elect to have their separate business units undergo the accreditation process, and they must go through a review every five years to maintain the accreditation status.

Science, Engineering and Computing Technology Specialties

Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET) is an international accreditation organization that strives to foster quality and innovation in the areas of science, computing technology and engineering education. Each area has its own set of ABET accreditation requirements and eligibility criteria. For example, the applied science accreditation credential applies to associate, undergraduate and graduate level programs while the engineering accreditation applies only to undergraduate and graduate level programs. The accreditation process is lengthy and involves conducting organizational assessment preparation, submitting the application and undergoing an 18 month review process. Some items under evaluation are student performance, established program objectives, continuous improvement and program curriculum.

Physical Therapy Programs

Physical therapy and physical therapy assistant programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). CAPTE is a national organization that seeks to ensure quality academic excellence in the physical therapy specialization. The accreditation process involves a self-evaluation followed by a peer review. The self-evaluation of the educational organization includes student, faculty, curriculum, clinical facilities, and policies. An accreditation team then conducts a site visit to verify the output of the self-evaluation.


Many take post secondary school accreditation for granted, but it is actually an important credential that employers and other schools use to gauge the quality of one’s academic experience when they consider a candidate for job and higher education opportunities. The credential is even more significant for majors with their own accrediting bodies.