History of Programmatic Accreditation

In the late 1990’s technology was rapidly changing and many schools and school systems were troubled by the possibility that their existing technology programs may not be keeping up with all of the advances. One of these systems, the Tennessee Board of Regents (the fifth largest system of higher education in the United States) wanted to verify they were preparing their students to be competitive in the workplace. To accomplish this, they mandated that all of their technological programs acquire third-party, programmatic accreditation. Programmatic accreditation is the process by which an independent, third party, non-governmental peer review a specific program is conducted comparing its elements to industry-approved guidelines and against set standards.

At that time the Tennessee Board of Regents discovered that no national accreditation agency had ever been established for the Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVACR) industry. Furthermore when contacting various industry groups, none were interested in establishing one. That is until they contacted HVAC Excellence. HVAC Excellence, was established only a few years earlier in 1994, to improve the technical competency of the HVACR industry. HVAC Excellence began conducting programmatic accreditation in 1999, establishing the industry’s first accrediting body, after working with the Tennessee Board of Regents and the HVACR industry to establish a set of standards.

The process of programmatic accreditation is to validate that established standards of excellence for HVACR educational programs are met. These standards are designed to ensure that our future workforce receives the quality of training required to provide the skills necessary for success in the HVACR industry.

In order to pursue accreditation, the staff at a school submits a Self-Study, filled with narratives and examples of how they comply with each of the required standards. The Self-Study is sent to HVAC Excellence, where the accreditation review board thoroughly assesses it for compliance with each standard. If the accreditation review board approves of the Self-Study, an onsite team is sent to conduct an intense, one day review of the program. The onsite team consists of two members, one who has senior management experience in vocational technical education as an administrator, the other who has served as an HVACR instructor or program chair. The team members are seasoned professionals that possess the knowledge, training, and experience to successfully evaluate every aspect of an HVACR program. Upon a thorough review of all of the documentation presented by the school and the onsite accreditation team, the HVAC Excellence accreditation review board makes the final determination of whether or not accreditation will be granted to the program.

HVAC Excellence programmatic accreditation identifies educational programs that posses the resources and administrative support to prepare students for entry level positions in the HVACR industry.