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 a credential to serve as an educator 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 including: Stage I - Prerequisites, Stage II - Eligibility Requirements, Stage III - Alignment with All Applicable Standards and Preconditions, Stage IV - Provisional Approval and finally, Stage V - Full Approval. All stages must be successfully completed. 

If an institution successfully completes Stages I through III and receives Provisional Approval at Stage IV, it will be required to adhere to all expectations and responsibilities of an approved program sponsor including but not limited to applicable program standards, reporting requirements, annual accreditation fees, credential recommendation and student record responsibilities, and all requirements of the seven year Accreditation cycle. After an institution completes 2-3 years on Provisional Approval and participates in a focused site visit, the Commission will determine if the institution is eligible for Full Approval.

Initial Institutional Approval Process

Institutions Currently Seeking Initial Institutional Approval

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 Standard 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.

Additional Helpful Information

  • Accreditation Framework
  • Accreditation Handbook - Chapter Three - Institutional and Program Approval as well as all other chapters
  • Program Sponsor Alerts Webpage: Information for approved educator preparation institutions
  • Meetings Webpage: Agendas, Video, and audio links for Commission meetings, Committee on Accreditation Meetings as well as other informational meetings
  • Subscribe to the PSD E-news.
Updated August 21, 2019