FAQ – Programme Accreditation Process

1) How can our programme get started in becoming accredited?

The CPA Accreditation Panel is happy to consult with programmes considering an application for accreditation. Please just contact the Accreditation Office at accreditation@cpa.ca with any questions or to arrange a meeting. A pdf version of the CPA Accreditation Manual is available at: cpa.ca/accreditation/resources/

Another excellent resource is the Canadian Council of Professional Psychology programmes (CCPPP). The CCPPP maintains a list of experienced professional psychology training directors, who are also happy to provide mentoring to new programmes. See the CCPPP website for more information: ccppp.ca

Some programmes also choose to have an objective outsider review their accreditation application, before officially submitting it for the Accreditation Panel’s review. If needed, the CPA Accreditation Office can provide names and contact information of experienced site visitors to conduct an initial review of a programme. Please note that the programme is responsible for making all arrangements and negotiating suitable payment to the consultant.

While a programme is undergoing the initial accreditation process, it is important to be clear in all public documents (i.e., website, brochure) that although the programme may be hopeful to receive accreditation, there is no guarantee of this outcome, or the timeline.  The Panel kindly requests that any new/non-accredited programmes refrain from using statements such as "not yet accredited", "undergoing accreditation", "awaiting accreditation", etc., as such wording can inadvertently imply to students an expectation of accreditation.

2) How do we submit a self-study?

Self-study forms can be found at: cpa.ca/accreditation/resources/

The completed self-study form (including written responses, statistical information requested in the tables, and all relevant appendices) can be submitted to the CPA Accreditation Office, either via email to accreditation@cpa.ca or via the file upload system.

3) When should we submit a self-study?

There are no deadlines for submission of an initial self-study application. For programmes undergoing re-accreditation, your self-study should be submitted during the last academic year of your programme’s term of accreditation.  Ideally, doctoral programmes are encouraged to submit in the summer (prior to the academic year due) or fall, and internship programmes are encouraged to submit within these same periods, with the addition of early winter as a final deadline.

For either an initial or re-accreditation submission, it is helpful to keep the timelines of the accreditation process in mind – think about when during the year your programme would hope to hold your site visit, and then work backwards by a minimum of 3, preferably 4 or more months. Submitting the self-study with this much lead time allows for the application to be reviewed by a Panel member, any additional clarifying information to be obtained, the site visit to be authorized, the site visit team to be selected, travel arrangements to be made, and the site visitors to have 4 to 6 weeks to review your programme’s materials.

Normally within two months of our office receiving an application, we are able to inform programmes whether or not a site visit has been authorized.

For new programmes, please also keep in mind that the full process, as described below, from submission of self-study to authorization of a site visit to completion of the site visit report, response, and final decision by the Panel at one of the bi-annual meetings normally takes at least one full year, and often one and a half years.  Particularly for internship programmes, this can have an impact on advertising in the APPIC match.  Thus, it is advisable to submit a new self-study application as soon as possible during an academic year, even if a site visit may be desired much later in the year.

4) What happens after the site visit takes place?

After the site visit, the site visit team has one month to prepare their report. This is then sent by our office to your programme, and then you have one month to submit a response to the site visitors report. Then all of this information is reviewed by 2 Panel members, in preparation for discussion and voting by the full Panel at the next scheduled Panel meeting. Panel meetings take place twice per year, once in the spring and once in the fall. Ideally we need at least 3 months (or more) between a site visit and the Panel meeting. Thus, programmes which schedule a site visit during July or August may at times need to wait until the subsequent spring Panel meeting to be reviewed.

It is helpful to note that regardless of when the accreditation decision is made, provided the decision is to award accreditation, the term is always backdated to the date of your site visit.

5) What happens after accreditation is granted?

Terms of accreditation span from 3 to 7 years, based on the relative strengths and weaknesses of a programme. Usually it is only well-established programmes that receive a 6 or 7 year term, and it is very normal for a new programme to receive a shorter term of accreditation.

Each year of the accredited term, programmes are expected to submit an annual report, and pay the annual fee. Every spring accredited programmes are sent a reminder to complete and submit their annual report by the September 1st reporting deadline.

Programmes due for re-accreditation in the following year are also sent a reminder in the spring. The re-accreditation process occurs in the last year of a programme’s accredited term (overlapping terms), in order to ensure continuity of accredited status for a programme’s students. Consequently, it is important for programmes to work on their re-accreditation self-study prior to the last year of their term, and submit the self-study with enough lead time for the site visit to occur before the end of the academic year. The re-accreditation process otherwise proceeds in the same manner as the initial accreditation process.

6) What are the accreditation fees?

The full accreditation fee schedule can be found at: cpa.ca/accreditation/resources/

Note that the initial application fee (applicable to new programmes only) can be submitted along with your application, or your programme can be invoiced for the amount if required. Site visitor fees are charged only after completion of the site visit. Annual fees are due for each accredited year. Because the term of accreditation is back dated to the date of the site visit, note that the annual fee for the first year of a new programme’s accredited term will often apply to the previous academic year (thus two year's worth of annual fees may be due at once).