What does it mean when a Human Service program is accredited by CSHSE?

The Council for Standards in Human Services Education was created in 1979 and is the only national accrediting body for human service degree programs. The National Standards set forth by the Council have been confirmed through independent and Council research as well as the self-studies of various institutions over the years.
When a Human Service program seeks accreditation, it submits a detailed self-study demonstrating program compliance with the National Standards. The self-study is then reviewed by 3-4 CSHSE approved self-study readers who carefully review the narrative and evidence provided by the college to determine standard compliance. A site visit is required for the initial accreditation and then every ten years thereafter. A self-study is required as an interim report every five years. The site visit includes interviews with administration, faculty, students, advisory board members, alumni, fieldwork supervisors, and other institutional staff associated with the program. 

An accredited program maintains active membership with the Council.

What are the benefits of having a Human Service program accredited?

 CSHSE accreditation holds programs to the highest national standards in Human Services education.
 CSHSE accreditation confirms quality programming through an external review process and provides information that asserts and confirms the program’s compliance with the National Standards.
 CSHSE accreditation facilitates an in-depth analysis of the effectiveness of the human services program and curriculum, and identifies its strengths, uniqueness, and growth areas according to the National Standards of human service education.
 CSHSE accredited program graduates have interdisciplinary knowledge and skills which expands employment options within the field of human services, e.g., nonprofit organizations, for-profit social service agencies, and local, state, and federal governments.
 Graduates of CSHSE accredited baccalaureate programs have more options for graduate school, e.g., master’s degrees in human services, human service administration, social work, counseling, law, and nonprofit administration.
 CSHSE accredited programs support transfer students from various programs and disciplines, e.g., criminal justice, social work, counseling, psychology, sociology, political science, etc., that align with the interdisciplinary nature of the field of human services.
 CSHSE accredited programs align with standards for many federal, state, and local licensures, certifications, or statutes, and work within a multitude of Health and Human Services professions, e.g., mental health, clinical services, public administration, addictions, gerontology, child development, disability services, criminal justice, etc.
 CSHSE maintains accountability of the accreditation process through recognition by the Council for Higher Education Association (CHEA)

What are the standards for Human Service Programs?

There are separate Standards for each degree level that the CSHSE accredits: Associate, Baccalaureate, and Master’s. The Standards are separated into two major categories: program and curriculum. There is a total of 20 Standards for the Associate Degree level, 21 Standards for the Baccalaureate Degree level and 18 Standards for the Master’s Degree level. The Program Standards are related to the operation, policies, and procedures of the Program. The Curriculum Standards are related to the coursework that defines the knowledge, theory, skills, and Field Experience requirements.

What is the difference between a membership with the Council for Standards in Human Services Education (CSHSE) and the National Organization of Human Services (NOHS)?

Both CSHSE and NOHS support the professional field of human services. CSHSE membership supports and accredits the program policies and curriculum of human service degree programs in postsecondary education institutions. The Human Service program is the member in CSHSE. NOHS membership supports professional development of individuals working in the field of human services. Individuals or institutions representing individuals are members in NOHS.

Can students initiate accreditation of human service programs at their institution?

No. Students can discuss the idea of accreditation with college faculty and administration. Program faculty and administrators can only initiate program accreditation.

Can I get the HS-BCP credential through the Council for Standards in Human Services Education?

No. The Human Services-Board Certified Practitioner (HS-BCP) credential is awarded after successfully completing the credentialing exam with the Center for Credentialing and Education, https://www.cce-global.org/Credentialing/HSBCP.

What is meant by a program that is 50% online?

CSHSE recognizes that programs are initiating more online instruction. For accreditation purposes, specific policies and procedures must be documented by colleges to ensure that online instruction is the same as the in-class instruction model, that students can be identified as program participants, and that curriculum delivery ensures skill- based training and assessments. Any program seeking accreditation and that offers more than 50% of the program’s human service classes in an online format, e.g. hybrid, online, videoconference, teleconference, etc., must respond to additional specifications within the Program and Curriculum standards.

What is meant by a site?

CSHSE considers a site to be a location, virtual or physical, where the student can complete the entire program curriculum. Offering a few courses at a location is not considered a site.

How can I become a self-study reader?

To qualify as a reader, you must be faculty from a CSHSE-member program and have teaching experience in a member program. If you are interested in becoming a reader, please submit the following: 1) A cover letter stating your interest in participating and your reasons for participating, if you are from a CSHSE-accredited program, and the amount of time that you can commit, 2) a current curriculum vita, 3) a letter of institutional support from either the Dean or Chair, and 4) a letter of reference. Email application material to Dr. Julia Bernard, CSHSE VPA, at cshsevpaccred@gmail.com

Readers and site visitors are volunteers and do not receive payment for evaluating self-studies or participating in site visits. CSHSE does provide reimbursement for all travel, meal, and lodging expenses for site visitors.

What is meant by a Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) recognition?

CHEA “affirms that the standards and processes of the accrediting organization [CSHSE] are consistent with the academic quality, improvement and accountability expectations that CHEA has established, including the eligibility standard that the majority of institutions or programs each accredits are degree-granting”. CSHSE has maintained CHEA recognition since 2014.