Accreditation – Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding accreditation-provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.

The provisional accreditation process begins with a thorough review of the planning, organization, and proposed content of a program that is in the advanced planning stages, but not yet operational.  The provisional accreditation pathway is the only entry way for proposed new programs into the accreditation process.


The ARC-PA accredits only qualified PA programs offered by, or located within institutions chartered by and physically located within, the United States and where students are geographically located within the United States for their education.

A single institution must be clearly identified as the sponsor of the program. Sponsoring institutions applying for provisional accreditation of a new PA program must be authorized under applicable law to provide a program of post-secondary education.  They must be accredited by, and in good standing with, a recognized regional accrediting agency and must be authorized by that agency to confer upon graduates of the PA program a graduate degree.

Entering the Process and Scheduling Site Visits 

To initiate the provisional accreditation process, a representative of the proposed sponsoring institution must contact Accreditation Services at the ARC-PA to verify institutional eligibility. After determining the program’s eligibility, the ARC-PA provides the program with information on the application process and timeline for consideration. The process is presented here in flow sheet format.

Accreditation-provisional status does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. As is true for other accredited programs, serious issues concerning the institution’s or program’s ability to demonstrate compliance with the Standards, at any point in the provisional process, may result in an adverse accreditation action. Programs that fail to achieve accreditation or have accreditation withdrawn may re-enter the provisional process at a later date.