Teacher Education

The Beginner’s Guide to CAEP Accreditation

The Beginner’s Guide to CAEP Accreditation

Updated December 2023

In the 1980s, America was considered a “nation at risk” because of its low educational standards. To make needed changes, educational organizations around the country tried out many different strategies—including recruiting and training fantastic teachers. Teacher education has changed drastically over time, but the demand for regulated teaching standards has remained firm. One of the newest systems on the block is CAEP accreditation.

For those of you who are beginners to CAEP accreditation, we’re about to shed some light on all things CAEP: the standards, the accreditation process, and stipulation. Upon finishing this article, you just might become the MacGyver of CAEP accreditation.

Interested in CAEP accreditation? Download our free PDF on how video can help you meet CAEP standards.

CAEP Standards in Layman’s Terms

Prior to CAEP, many teacher education programs followed NCATE and TEAC legacy standards. Then in 2016 NCATE and TEAC merged together to form CAEP. Along with the merger, CAEP significantly raised the bar for teacher preparation.

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Five elaborate standards must be met to receive accreditation. And when we say elaborate, we mean it. The CAEP accreditation standards are considerably different from previous accreditation standards, with a strong focus on continuous improvement. They aren’t easy to understand either, so we’ve laid out the standards in simple terms below:    

CAEP Standard 1: Content and Pedagogical Knowledge

The program ensures teacher candidates understand what they’re teaching and how to teach effectively.

CAEP Standard 2: Clinical Partnerships and Practice

The program works with school districts and communities to create student teaching opportunities.

CAEP Standard 3: Candidate Recruitment and Support

The program provides high-quality candidates from recruitment through completion, and support services to ensure candidates will be successful.

CAEP Standard 4: Program Impact

The program uses a variety of measures to prove the program’s impact on completers.

CAEP Standard 5: Quality Assurance System and Continuous Improvement

The program uses data from multiple measures and supports continuous improvement that is sustained and evidence-based.

Standard 6: Fiscal and Administrative Capacity

The program has the fiscal and administrative capacity, faculty, infrastructure and other resources to prepare candidates to meet professional, state and institutional standards. 

Standard 7: Record of Compliance with Title IV of the Higher Education Act

Programs relying on CAEP accreditation to access Title IV must demonstrate 100% compliance with Title IV.

The Accreditation Process

CAEP accreditation is a rigorous, lengthy venture that takes anywhere from 7-10 years to complete. CAEP accreditation is essentially a seal of approval to prepare teacher candidates through quality programs. See why it matters.


Programs that are NCATE or TEAC accredited do not have to apply to CAEP. All programs new to accreditation must apply to begin the process.

Program Review

All programs must complete the review process, which varies from state to state.

Self-Study Report

Programs write a self-study report to provide evidence of meeting CAEP accreditation standards.

Formative Review

The CAEP site team responds to the evidence provided by the program.

Site Visit

The site team arrives onsite for 2-3 days to examine evidence and conduct interviews with program leaders, faculty, students, and P-12 administrators.

Site Visit Report

The site team writes a response to the tasks completed during the site visit.

Accreditation Council

The CAEP Accreditation Council reviews all materials and makes a final decision.

Annual Reports

Programs must submit an annual report to CAEP that shows continuous improvement.

What Is a Stipulation?

A program must meet all the standards for full CAEP accreditation. Although there are specific stipulations for each standard, there are similarities across the board. Generally a stipulation is associated with:

  • Not enough data
  • An incomplete, superficial, or unsupported analysis
  • Insufficient context or description of the source
  • The violation of general rules

Programs have two years to meet the failed standard upon stipulation. If stipulations are removed, full accreditation is theirs. If the standards remain unmet, accreditation is withheld.

The CAEP accreditation process may not be a cinch, but hopefully you now have a better grasp on what it entails. For more specifics about CAEP accreditation, check out the official CAEP website.

For even more information on how to achieve CAEP accreditation, check out our article Crushing CAEP Accreditation Standard 4.