Accreditation FAQs


Accreditation Frequently Asked Questions


1. What is accreditation? 

Accreditation is the independent and informed third party assessment of the quality of programs and operations designed to improve human performance in organizations, business units, departments, or of individuals. 

2. Why accreditation? 

One gauge for measuring the efficiency, effectiveness, and quality of a program, organization, or department is accreditation. By receiving accreditation consumers, customers and organization management are presented with information that better enables them to discriminate effective from ineffective programs, departments, agencies and organizations and their resulting products, services, and practices.

3. What purpose does accreditation serve? 

Accreditation provides assurance to an individual or group of individuals regarding the quality of products and/or services provided by an organization. Accreditation holds the accredited entity accountable for the work it does. 

4. How does accreditation differ from certification? 

Accreditation is a status awarded by an independent third-party to an organization, department, function, program, or service upon demonstration it has satisfied a set of predetermined quality performance standards. 

Certification, on the other hand, is a status awarded by employers and independent third parties to individuals based on demonstration of standards. ISPI’s certifications are evidence-based and require applicants to demonstrate they have achieved meaningful results in a real work setting.

5. How might accreditation benefit a program, course, a department, an agency or an organization? 

Successful accreditation can reap many benefits that may include:

  • Greater customer trust
  • Increased credibility with management
  • Increased credibility in the marketplace
  • Improved policies and procedures
  • More effective and efficient operations
  • Stronger risk management strategies
  • Ability to gain and sustain a competitive edge
  • Enhanced team awareness
  • Acknowledgement by peers and/or experts of the quality and effectiveness of a program or course
  • Constructive and actionable feedback inherent in the accreditation review process
  • Satisfaction of knowing a program or course meets professional standards using an unbiased review process

6. Who is the accrediting body? 

The International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) is the accrediting body. ISPI is dedicated to improving individual, organizational, and societal performance. Founded in 1962, ISPI is the leading international association dedicated to improving productivity and performance in the workplace. ISPI represents more than 10,000 international and chapter members throughout the United States and more than 50 other countries.  

7. What does ISPI accredit?

  1. Departments or functions within organizations whose charge includes improving the performance of employees, suppliers, after-market partners, customers, and other stakeholders.
  2. Programs designed to improve or build capacity and capability.
  3. Compliance Driven Courses - or series of courses that demonstrate compliance with regulations set by regulatory bodies. Such courses measure the acquisition of knowledge and skills. They may measure the degree behaviors on the job are in compliance upon completion of the course and the degree participation and completions correlate with business goals/metrics.
  4. College/University Educational Programs in Performance Improvement, Training, and Human Resources.
  5. Vendor Performance Improvement Programs (including training).

8. What is the process to receive an ISPI accreditation? 

The candidate organization must submit an application that demonstrates the satisfaction of each of the Accreditation Standards. In some cases qualified reviewers will examine all the documentation received from a candidate organization and determine if all accreditation requirements have been met. In other cases the examination of documentation may be accompanied by telephone interviews or site visits by qualified reviewers.  

9. When can a candidate organization apply for Accreditation? 

A candidate organization can apply at any time. 

10. What is not required? 

Membership in ISPI or any other organization is not required. However, if the sponsoring organization is a member of ISPI or joins when the application is submitted, the organization may apply at the member rate. 

11. What are the Accreditation Standards? 

The Standards for Programs are:

  1. Analyze the Need or Opportunity
  2. Focus on Results
  3. Partner & Collaborate
  4. Actualize the Solution
  5. Conduct Formative Evaluations
  6. Measure Outcomes & Impact
  7. Add Value
  8. Sustain Results

The Standards are currently under development for:

  • Organizations, Departments, and Functions
  • University programs
  • Compliance-driven courses
  • Vendor or consultant programs

If you are interested in participating in the development of new standards or the validation of existing standards, please contact or

12. How often does an organization, department, agency, or program need to be re-accredited?

Depending on the type, accreditation is granted for a period of five years. At the end of each accreditation period, the candidate organization must be re-accredited by repeating all or some portion of the original accreditation process.

13. How will the assessment occur? 

Two qualified reviewers + oversight judge will:

  • Examine documents and review the application
  • Interview stakeholders (by telephone or in person)
  • Site visit (as appropriate)

14. Who governs the accreditation process, sets policy, etc? 

The Certification and Accreditation Governance Committee of ISPI establishes and oversees all accreditation activities. The Committee directs the work of the Director of Certification and Accreditation. The Committee sets policy and the Director implements it. 

15. Who will be the accreditation reviewers? 

Reviewers will be ISPI Certified Performance Technologists (CPT) who have received training and guidelines for conducting a review of the Accreditation Application and associated support documentation. 

16. Can an accreditation application be submitted in a language other than English?

Applications are currently being accepted in Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish. 

17. How much does accreditation cost? 

The cost is determined based on the size and profit status of the organization and the size of the program(s) or course(s) being accredited as well as the nature of the review conducted. The cost for interviews and on-site visits are above the cost for the accreditation. 

Currently the pricing structure for is $8,745 less a 30% discount for the initial three-year pilot period ending Dec. 2014 or $6,125. 

Re-accreditation is $1,295 every five years. 

There may be an additional fee for on-site visits.  

18. What happens if an accreditation application is not approved? 

If the accreditation application is not accepted, the organization submitting the application will be notified as to which Standard(s) have not been met. The submitting organization will have an opportunity to meet those specific Standards within the next 24 months without additional charge. After the original submission and one resubmit, ISPI will have the right (depending on the amount of work needed) to charge a re-review fee. 

19. Is there an appeal process? 

Yes. If the submitting organization is notified that the application did not meet one or more standard and wishes to contest that decision they can appeal the decision. Appeals are undertaken by the Certification and Accreditation Governance Committee according to rules spelled out in the Accreditation Handbook. Decisions of the Governance Committee are final. 

20. What does an accredited organization get once they are accredited? 

Once the candidate organization achieves the accreditation the organization:

  • Receives a Seal of Accreditation.
  • Has its name listed on the ISPI website as being accredited.
  • May display the Accreditation logo on its website, business cards, stationary, and marketing materials, etc.
  • May use the credential to distinguish itself in the marketplace.

21. Where can I find out more about an ISPI accreditation?