Below is a list of commonly asked questions that are relevant to both current and potential accreditation and certification inspectors.
Yes, exceptions can be made by the Chair of the Accreditation Commission or by the Vice President of Accreditation Programs.
The host institution is responsible for all costs incurred as a result of their accreditation inspection. However, initially, each team member must cover his/her own costs out-of-pocket and is reimbursed in-full by AZA after the site visit is concluded. Each team member must submit copies of original receipts for all expenses to AZA within 30 days of the inspection using the reimbursement form supplied. Reimbursable expenses include transportation, parking, lodging, meals, postage, and any other reasonable cost associated with the inspection. If you are uncertain about an expense, check with the AZA accreditation department.
Inspections occur two times annually. For those institutions appearing before the Commission in March, inspections generally occur sometime between October and January. For those institutions appearing before the Commission in September, inspections generally occur sometime between April and July. Inspectors are confirmed in the weeks prior to those cycles.
Once the inspection team has been assembled and confirmed, the Team Chair will determine the dates of the inspection in consultation with team members and the institution's CEO/Director. Inspections can range anywhere from 2-5 days in length, based on institution size and complexity.
Visiting Committees range in size from 2-4 inspectors, based upon the size of the institution and complexity of operations.
No. The recommendation of the Visiting Committee is only one piece in the process. The Commission considers many things in making its decision, including:
It is important to understand that the decision regarding the granting, tabline, or denial of accreditation rests solely with the Accreditation Commission - and is not the responsibility of the inspection team. The inspection team makes a recommendation which is based on what is learned and observed at the time of the inspection. The responsibility for the outcome of each case is borne solely by the Accreditation Commission and the institution itself.
The Commission will grant accreditation when it is reasonably satisfied that the applicant institution meets the standards and requirements of an accredited institution. The Commission may table an institution's materials if it determines that certain conditions must be met or additional information submitted before the institution can be considered as meeting accreditation standards. Finally, the Commission will deny accreditation when an institution does not meet the minimum requirements to be recognized as an accredited institution at the present time and, in its opinion, would require in excess of one year to successfully do so.
Once you no longer need them, the institution's materials should be destroyed, or they may be returned directly to the institution at the time of the inspection. Do not return them to AZA.
Inspector training sessions are held at each AZA Annual Conference and periodically at AAZV Conferences. These sessions are usually headed by the Vice President, Accreditation Programs and members of the Accreditation Commission. The training sessions include an overview of the accreditation process, requirements and responsibilities of inspectors, and clarification of standards as well as a question and answer session. The Inspector's Handbook is also a wonderful resource of information for current and potential inspectors. It is anticipated that additional training may be required in the future.
Although it is recommended that all inspectors participate in a training session at least once every three years, if you have gone longer than this amount of time you will not be automatically disqualified to participate, but steps should be taken to rectify the situation as soon as possible. Please contact AZA for more information.
For additional information please read the Inspector's Handbook or contact AZA Accreditation Programs.