Know the timeline
Depending on when you want to reaffirm your accreditation, your timeline may differ. Check out these helpful links from CSWE to make sure you’re building in enough time to maintain your status.
If you’re not sure what your Commission on Accreditation (COA) agenda date is, either contact your program’s accreditation specialist or double-check the date in CSWE’s Directory of Accredited Programs.
Know the eligibility standards far in advance
Make sure that you know if your program is eligible for reaffirming CSWE. Spend some time before you begin the application double checking the eligibility standards to minimize any unpleasant surprises.
Note: The requirements for Baccalaureate and Master’s social work programs are different. Make sure you’re checking the correct one before you begin. Here we discuss the eligibility standards for Masters programs.
For a Master’s of Social Work Program:
- Eligibility Standard 1: You’ll need the CEO of your institution to authorize the Commission on Accreditation’s review of your social work program. Then you’ll need to submit the “Authorization of Program Review” form once your CEO has completed it and signed it.
- Eligibility Standard 2: Show that you’ve been accredited by a regional accreditation agency that is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
- Eligibility Standard 3: Submit your program’s affirmative action policy, plan, or program and procedures as well as a policy against discrimination. You must also comply with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act and submit your compliance plan.
- Eligibility Standard 4: Your institution has a full-time social work program chief administrator. This person must hold a master’s of social work degree from a CSWE-accredited program and preferably with a doctoral degree in social work as well.
- Eligibility Standard 5: You have a catalog, or something similar, that highlights your social work program and explains its purpose, requirements, and education level(s).
- Eligibility Standard 6: You have an organizational chart that shows the position of your social work program within the governance structure of your institution.
- Eligibility Standard 7: Your master’s in social work program can be completed in 2 years if it’s full time and 4 years is it comes in a part-time format.
You will have an assigned Accreditation Specialist whom you will need to email your Reaffirmation Eligibility Application. Identify that person sooner than later as they can also answer questions surrounding eligibility as you work through the standards.
Build a calendar for yourself and key stakeholders
As you review these standards and steps, updating a calendar can be helpful. Build in enough time to have meetings, gain approvals and signatures. Then, invite the right people to the right meetings or reminders to help keep the reaffirmation process on track.
Plan for fees and expenses
While the details may change slightly from year to year, reaffirming CSWE accreditation isn’t free. The reaffirmation eligibility fee ranges from $1,500 to $3,000 while the reaffirmation fee ranges from $3,500 to $7,000. This doesn’t include self-study costs, site visit expenses, and annual program membership dues.
Self-study costs include:
- Faculty-assigned time
- Printing expenses
- Meeting expenses
- Other administrative costs
Site Visit Expenses include:
- Airline tickets
- Hotel stays
- Ground transportation
Annual program membership dues are based on the number of graduates by program. Visit https://www.cswe.org/Membership for more information on what to expect to pay.
All told, you’re looking at a $10,000 or more. Make sure that this gets approved as part of your budget before the fiscal year starts.
Attend a workshop
Finally, a full two to three years in advance of the Commission on Accreditation (COA) review, CSWE recommends attending a workshop.
Keep checking back as new trainings are added.