Your Guide to Art School Resources and Information

Art School Accreditation

Accreditation is a status awarded to an educational institution that meets or exceeds the stated criteria of educational quality of the accreditation organization.

The reason for accreditation is to assess and enhance the educational quality of an institution, to assure consistency in institutional operations, to promote institutional improvement, and to provide for public accountability.

Why is accreditation important?

Accredited design schools | accredited art schools | accredited interior design schools

Accreditation is especially important for art and design programs. Studends need to make sure their credits are transferrable and that the education they get is up-to-date, passes peer review, and meets certain industry standards and best practices.

Accreditation ensures that students have:

  • Qualified teachers, continually working to improve their teaching methods to increase student performance.
  • Access to a sound curriculum
  • Access to a range of activities and services
  • Transferability of credits from school to school
  • Greater access to federal loans, scholarships, post secondary education, and military programs that require accreditation.

Art School / Design School Accreditation Organizations:

Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)
The ACCSC (formerly ACCSCT) is recognized by the United States Department of Education as a private, non-profit, independent accrediting agency whose mission is to establish, sustain, and enforce valid standards and practices for institutions educating students for occupational or technical careers.

Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS)
The ACICS, founded in 1912, is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation to accredit private postsecondary institutions offering certificates or diplomas, and postsecondary institutions offering associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degrees in programs designed to educate students for professional, technical, or occupational careers.

Council for Interior Design Accreditation (IAD)
The IAD is an independent, non-profit accrediting organization that sets standards for postsecondary interior design education at colleges and universities in the US and Canada. The IAD evaluates and accredits institutions using internationally recognized educational standards.

Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSACS)
The Commission on Secondary Schools is one of three Commissions that function within Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. The Commission on Secondary Schools serves both public and non-public schools in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia.

Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
The MSCHE aspires to achieve quality assurance and improvement in educational institutions through accreditation via peer evaluation. The MSCHE provides policies and guidelines that must be adhered to by accredited schools.

National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB)
The National Architectural Accrediting Board is the sole agency authorized to accredit professional degree programs in architecture in the United States. Most US state architecture registration boards require the licensee to have graduated from a NAAB-accredited program.

National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD)
The NASAD is the national accrediting agency for art and design disciplines and consists of 280 schools of art and design, mostly at the collegiate level, but includes postsecondary non-degree-granting schools for the visual arts disciplines. Accreditation is gained through a peer review process.

National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD)
The NASD, founded in 1981, is the national accrediting agency for dance and dance-related disciplines. The association, which establishes national standards for undergraduate and graduate degrees, consists of approximately 65 schools of dance. Membership is gained through a peer review process.

National Association of Schools of Music (NASM)
The NASM was founded in 1924 and is an organization of schools, conservatories, colleges and universities. It is the national accrediting agency for music and music-related disciplines. The NASM, which consists of approximately 615 accredited members, establishes national standards for undergraduate and graduate degrees and other credentials. Membership is gained through a peer review process.

National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST)
The NAST establishes national standards for undergraduate and graduate degrees and other credentials in the field of theatre. Founded in 1965, NAST is an organization of schools, conservatories, colleges and universities, and has approximately 150 accredited institutional members. Membership is gained through a peer review process.

North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI)
The NCA CASI is a non-governmental, voluntary organization that accredits 8,500 public and private schools. NCA CASI's focus is to advance the quality of education, and accredits schools from pre-kindergarten through post-secondary.

New England Association of Schools & Colleges, Inc. (NEASC)
The NEASC is the nation’s oldest regional accrediting association, and serves more than 2,000 public and independent schools, colleges and universities in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. NEASC standards often are accepted in substitution for standards set by state departments of education.

Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
The NWCCU is an independent, non-profit membership organization and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as the regional authority on educational quality of higher education institutions in the seven-state Northwest region of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.
It fulfills its mission by establishing accreditation criteria and evaluation procedures by which institutions are reviewed.

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
The SACS accredits over 13,000 schools and school systems throughout the United States and overseas, and is an accreditation division of AdvancED. Schools and districts are awarded accreditation through objective peer review, attainment of high standards, and engagement in continuous improvement.

Western Association of Colleges and Schools (WASC)
The WASC, a 501 (c) 3 organization, was formed to promote the welfare, interests, and development of education in the Western Region of the US (California, Hawaii, Guam and the Pacific Basin). WASC is recognized as one of six regional associations that accredit public and private schools, colleges, and universities in the Western Region.

European League of Institutes of the Arts (ELIA)
The ELIA is an independent organization of art education institutes covering all the disciplines of the Arts - dance, design, theatre, fine art, music, media arts and architecture in 47 countries.

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