International Christian Accrediting Association

How to Become Accredited


The ICAA process, including principles, procedures, and standards of accreditation, are designed to assist Christian schools in achieving excellence, assuring quality, and foster improvement consistent with the school’s founding purposes. ICAA Accredited status represents an assurance of standards of quality and excellence; additionally, the process of accreditation with its points of validation and institutional self-study is equally significant. The Annual Reports, Self-Study, and periodic reviews are to ensure that the standards of quality assurance in educational achievements and effectiveness are maintained. The ICAA process, including principles, procedures, and standards of accreditation, are designed to assist Christian schools in achieving excellence, assuring quality, and foster improvement consistent with the school’s founding purposes

ICAA accreditation, therefore, is a process in which a school completes various stages of the accreditation process as it moves toward Accredited status. The status levels within the ICAA accreditation process are:

Applicant status

Pre-Candidate status

Candidate status

Accredited status

A school must complete specific steps and tasks within each status level before it can progress to the next status. The purpose of each status level help a school initiate and continue sustained progress toward Accredited status. It also ensures that the school attains and maintains the quality necessary to meet required educational standards of quality and that it develops a culture of continuous improvement. While the time required for a school to achieve Accredited status may vary, on the average, a school will usually completed the process within 2-3 years. However, if a school is seeking ICAA accreditation and is already accredited by another ICAA-recognized accrediting association, ICAA has an accelerated accreditation process that the school may be eligible for. (Please contact the ICAA office for more information about the accelerated option if you feel your school may qualify for that option.)

Schools must meet these conditions of eligibility before ICAA will initiate the accreditation process.

  • The school is a member of ORUEF.

  • The school must have legal authority and, if offering 12th grade, appropriate approval to award diplomas.

  • The school must come under the control of a governing body, duly empowered with its governance and meeting all appropriate legal requirements. This condition may be met by a church board or other church authority duly authorized and established to operate on behalf of the school.

  • The school will designate a chief administrative officer. The chief officer or his/her representatives will be charged with the day-to-day administration of the school, spending appropriate time and efforts commensurate with the size and nature of the school.

  • The school must have been in operation for a minimum of one year with enrolled students.

  • The school must have written statements of purpose and faith and include them in official school publications. These, and all other related statements and policies, must be consistent with the ICAA Statements of Faith and Purpose.

  • The school must publish policies related to admission, retention, fees, and (for secondary levels) graduation requirements.

  • The school must be able to demonstrate its ability to provide appropriate resources for the fulfilling of its purposes.

  • The school must own or have made contractual arrangements for an appropriate and adequate collection of learning resources

The Applicant status is the initial entry point for all school seeking ICAA to attain ICAA accreditation. Applicant status is a non-accredited status.

Forms/Documents Required (may be completed and submitted online).

  • ORUEF Membership Application

  • ICAA Letter of Intent

  • ICAA Eligibility Checklist

  • ICAA Pre-Candidate Application

School Actions/Tasks Required.

  • Complete and submit all forms

  • Pay all dues and fees

ICAA Actions.

  • ICAA office received completed forms and payments

  • ICAA office reviews all documents submitted

  • If all documents are properly completed and indicate school is eligible to begin the accreditation process, the school is moved to Pre-Candidate status level

A school may remain at Pre-Candidate status for up to four years as it works toward completing the required tasks and demonstrating that it is eligible to progress to Candidate status level. If a Pre-Candidate school does not receive Candidate status by the end of the fourth year, it may be dropped from the ICAA accreditation process and may not reapply for one calendar year. Pre-Candidate status is a non-accredited status.

Forms/Documents Required (may be completed and submitted online)

  • ICAA Readiness Self-Assessment.

School Actions/Tasks Required

  • Complete the ICAA Readiness Self-Assessment document.

ICAA Actions

  • ICAA appoints an ICAA representative to serve as an ICAA Chairperson for the school to provide consultation and guidance to the school, assisting it to progress through the accreditation process.

  • ICAA Chairperson reviews the school’s completed ICAA Readiness Self-Assessment and consults with the school with regard to strengths, weaknesses, and/or deficiencies noted. If the Chair, in consultation with the school, feels the school can achieve Accredited status within 3 years, he/she may recommend the school progress to Candidate status.

  • ICAA Commission for Accreditation makes decision on whether the school is ready to progress to Candidate status.

A school may remain at Candidate status for up to three years as it works toward completing the required tasks and demonstrating that it is eligible to achieve Accredited. If a Candidate school does not receive Accredited status by the end of the third year, it may be dropped from the ICAA accreditation process and may not reapply for one calendar year. Candidate status is a non-accredited status.

Forms/Documents Required (may be completed and submitted online)

  • ICAA Self-Assessment Guide.

  • ICAA-prescribed stakeholder surveys for staff, students, and parents.

School Actions/Tasks Required

  • Conduct required stakeholder surveys and analyze survey responses.

  • Complete ICAA Self-Assessment Guide.

  • Collect and organize evidence artifacts in support of all ICAA Assurances, Standards and Indicators.

  • Develop/update school improvement plan(s).

  • Prepare to host External Review team.

ICAA Actions

  • ICAA Chairperson consults with and provides guidance to school through the self-assessment process and preparation for the External Review visit.

  • If the Chair, after the completion of all required tasks and in consultation with the school, feels the school can demonstrate that it meets ICAA standards and can achieve Accredited status, he may recommend to the ICAA Executive Director that an External Review visit be scheduled.

Once a school has completed its comprehensive self-assessment and, in the opinion of its ICAA Chairperson, it can successfully demonstrate that it meets ICAA standards, it will be scheduled to host an External Review visit consisting of a team of experienced Christian school educators who will determine whether the school meets the requirements to achieve Accredited status. Accredited status may last up to five years.

Forms/Documents Required (may be completed and submitted online)

  • Additional evidence as requested by External Review team to validate compliance with ICAA Assurances, Standards and Indicators.

School Actions/Tasks Required

  • Host an External Review visit.

  • Successfully demonstrate to the visiting External Review team that all requirements for ICAA accreditation have been met.

ICAA Actions

  • Assign External Review team and schedule, in collaboration with the school, dates for the External Review visit by the team.

  • The team, at the conclusion of the visit, makes a recommendation to the ICAA Commission for Accreditation with regard to the school’s accreditation status.

  • The school receives an ICAA External Review Accreditation Report summarizing the team’s findings on the visit.

  • The ICAA Commission for Accreditation makes a decision regarding the school’s accreditation status.

Once accredited, a school’s term of accreditation is valid for up to five years. In the fifth year of the accreditation term, the school must complete another comprehensive self-assessment and host another successful External Review visit.

Forms/Documents Required (may be completed and submitted online)

  • ORUEF Membership Application.

  • ICAA Annual Report.

School Actions/Tasks Required

  • Renew ORUEF membership annually.

  • Pay all required dues/fees by September 30th annually.

  • Complete ICAA Annual Report by October 31st of each year.

  • The school sends an official representative to the ICAA Accreditation Hearings/Meetings each year and casts its votes in ICAA elections and/or other business items in the ICAA annual delegate assembly business meeting.

ICAA Actions

  • The ICAA Commission for Accreditation reviews the school’s ICAA Annual Report and any supporting documentation and makes decision regarding school’s accreditation status each year.

ICAA Accreditation Fees are paid annually and due by September 30th each year. Fees paid after September 30th will be assessed a late fee.

Annual Accreditation Fee (all status levels $1,050
Change of Status Fees
Application Fee (one-time fee payable at time of application) $250
Pre-Candidate Fee (one-time fee) $300
Candidate (one-time fee) $400
External Review Visit Fee (initial ER or Re-Evaluation ER visit) $400
State Fee (AR, CO, GA, KY, MN, NC, OK, TX) $200
State Fee (VA) $300
Late Fee (for fees received after September 30) $200
ORUEF Membership Fee Check