Initial Institutional Approval Process (IIA) - How to Become Approved Program Sponsor

California law provides the Commission on Teacher Credentialing with the authority to accredit institutions and approve all programs that lead to credentials authorizing educators to serve in California's public schools. Among other responsibilities, Education Code Section 44372(c) sets forth the Commission's responsibility to rule on the eligibility of an applicant for initial accreditation for the purpose of offering a program of educator preparation. 

As a result, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing requires that an institution seeking to offer new educator preparation program(s) must first be approved for initial accreditation as a new program sponsor and must do so by completing the Commission's Initial Institution Approval (IIA) process. The process includes five stages: Stage I - Prerequisites; Stage II - Eligibility Requirements; Stage III - Provisional Approval; Stage IV - Initial Program Approval; and Stage V - Provisional Site Visit and Full Approval.

Institutions who receive Provisional Approval will be required to adhere to all expectations and responsibilities of an approved program sponsor including but not limited to applicable standards and preconditions, reporting requirements, credential recommendations, and student record responsibilities. After completing 2-4 years on Provisional Approval, an institution must participate in a Provisional Site Visit. The Commission will then determine if the institution is eligible for Full Approval.

Once the Commission grants Full Institutional Approval, the Administrator of Accreditation will assign an institution to a specific cohort within the seven-year accreditation cycle. The institution will then participate in accreditation activities as defined by the seven-year accreditation cycle. 

Initial Institutional Approval Process

Contact Information

All documents and correspondence regarding IIA submissions must be emailed to

Accreditation Costs

Understanding Program Sponsor Fees: Information related to Annual Accreditation and Cost Recovery fees. There are Cost Recovery fees associated with becoming an approved program sponsor. All of the information on the webpage should be reviewed, however attention should be paid to the following:

Standards and Accreditation

  • Common Standards relate to aspects of program quality that apply to all educator preparation programs within an institution. Please review all five of the 2015 Common Standards.

  • Preconditions are requirements that must be met in order for an accrediting association or licensing agency to consider accrediting a program sponsor or approving its programs or schools. Please review all ten general preconditions.
  • Program standards address aspects of program quality and effectiveness that apply to each type of educator preparation program offered by a program sponsor. Program standards contain statements describing the nature and purpose of each standard and language that details the requirements that all approved programs must meet. Program sponsors must meet all applicable program standards before the program application may be approved by the Commission.

Additional Helpful Information

Updated February 05, 2024