Application and Review Process

Onsite Visitation

The Following instructions will provide an estimated timeline to complete for each step of the accreditation process. Depending upon your response time, the process may be completed in as little as ninety days or can take as long as 6 months.

Step 1: Submit Application and Program Video

The school submits their application and fee for accreditation to HVAC Excellence. In addition, the school shall submit a narrated program video (contact HVAC Excellence for submittal instructions), highlighting the following:

  • Diversity of equipment, trainers, and workstations available in the program's laboratories. (Inside and outside.)
  • Fire extinguishers, eye wash stations, first aid kits, emergency cutoff switches, and the mechanical exhaust system in the program's facilities.
  • Tool room and storage area, emphasizing the presence of test and diagnostic equipment, recording instruments, general hand tools, vacuum pumps, recovery equipment, brazing equipment, and the designated refrigerant storage area as applicable to the discipline being applied for.
  • Training library, which includes audio-visual equipment, books, slides, videos, and other resources.
  • Classroom area
  • Student computers
  • Instructor office(s)

Upon receipt of the application and video(s), the accreditation review board will determine if the program(s) are viable candidates for accreditation. When seeking accreditation of multiple disciplines, please provide separate videos for each program. If candidacy status is granted, the program(s) will be provided with an accreditation manual and will have one year to complete the review process as outlined in the manual.

Step 2: Team Members Assigned

When a program is granted candidacy status, a member of the HVAC Excellence team is assigned to work with the school throughout the process. This team member serves as a point of contact and provides guidance and support to the school during the review period.

Step 3: Submit Self-Study

A completed self-study of the program(s) seeking accreditation should be submitted electronically via the HVAC Excellence Upload Portal. It may also be submitted by shipping the completed self-study on USB flash drives to HVAC Excellence, Accreditation Department, 1350 W. Northwest Hwy, Mount Prospect, IL 60056. If the USB option is selected, please submit three drives, each containing the complete self-study. Once the self-study is received, the accreditation review board will carefully assess the documentation to determine if the program is ready for an onsite evaluation. The review board assessment takes approximately 45 days from the date of receipt of the self-study(studies).

Step 4: Onsite Visitation

If the review board finds the self-study and its accompanying documents acceptable, onsite evaluation assessors, (also referred to as Accreditation Specialists/Surveyors), will be selected. The assessors will work with the institution to schedule the onsite visit. Although the on-site visit is often completed in one day, other factors such as the complexity of the program, and the number of programs being evaluated may affect the amount of time required to complete the visit.

Step 5: Final Determination

Once the assessors complete their evaluation, they will submit their recommendations to the accreditation review board. The review board will carefully assess the recommendations and supporting documentation to make a final determination regarding the accreditation status for each program seeking accreditation. This final decision-making process typically takes up to 45 days.

Onsite Visitation Process

Morning Conference

This meeting serves as a platform for open discussion among school personnel and the assessors. It provides a forum to ask questions and better understand the onsite visitation process.

School Administrator Interview

This conversation provides insights into factors that impact the program, such as program management, resources, facilities, and overall support from the school administration.

Student Services Interview

This interview entails a discussion about admission standards, student placement records, transcript management, maintenance of health records, assistance in transitioning from school to work, follow-up on employment outcomes, and the availability of financial aid resources for students.

Financial Services Interview

Discussions may cover topics such as the funding sources available to the program, student fees, the process of formulating the annual program budget, distribution of grants and Perkins funds, and other financial considerations relevant to each program's operations and sustainability.

Review Standards with Instructor

The assessor will meet with faculty, students, and members of the program advisory committees. During this time, they will visit the classrooms, laboratories, storage areas, to validate all aspects of the self-study.

Exit Interview

Upon conclusion of the onsite evaluation, the assessors will once again meet with program instructor(s) and administrators. During this closing meeting, a summary of the assessor's findings will be discussed.

Final Determination

The HVAC Excellence Accreditation Review Board carefully evaluates the self-study(studies) and findings provided by the assessors to make a final decision regarding the accreditation status of each program seeking accreditation. This evaluation process typically takes up to 45 days.

Accreditation Fees

The accreditation process involves certain fees and expenses. An accreditation fee of $2,000 (for the first program seeking accreditation) is to be paid as follows:

  • A non-refundable fee of $500.00 is submitted with the application.
  • The remaining $1,500.00 is due after review and acceptance of the self-study but prior to scheduling the onsite visit.
  • A fee of $1,000 will be required for each additional program seeking accreditation.

The following expenses will be invoiced to the institution upon completion of the onsite evaluation:

  • $700.00 daily honorarium per assessor will be charged. Most onsite visits are completed in one day and require two assessors. However, some programs may require additional assessors or time, resulting in additional charges.
  • Travel expenses include actual airfare, car rental fees, fuel charges, personal vehicle mileage, baggage fees, airport parking, and transportation to and from the airport.
  • Lodging, including the actual expenses incurred for lodging and meals during the onsite visit will be invoiced to the institution.

If the school cancels a scheduled onsite visit after the agreed-upon date, the institution will be held responsible for any fees and expenses incurred due to the cancellation. A future onsite visit will not be scheduled until the fees associated with the cancellation have been paid.

Application for Accreditation

To apply for programmatic accreditation you can submit your application electronically.

Terms of Accreditation

The maximum accreditation award period from HVAC Excellence is six years. A training program or institution that receives a six-year accreditation will have met or, in many cases, exceeded all the accreditation standards. Schools seeking accreditation of multiple disciplines may be awarded different terms of accreditation for each program.

Compliance Corrections

In cases where compliance issues are identified, the program will be granted a 90-day period during which the issue is to be resolved. If the corrections cannot be resolved within this period, the program may submit an implementation plan detailing how each correction will be addressed and the resolution timeframe. HVAC Excellence reserves the right to accelerate the timeline and request a re-inspection as part of the implementation plan. Failure to submit the required compliance corrections will result in the suspension of accreditation.

Annual Reporting

Continuation of programmatic accreditation depends on the receipt and acceptance of an annual report . Accredited programs will be sent an annual report document in September of each year. This document must be completed and submitted to HVAC Excellence electronically no later than December 1st of each year, along with the required filing fee. The goal of the annual report is to identify any substantive changes and assess whether the program(s) remain in compliance with the standards.

If the annual report demonstrates ongoing compliance, the school will receive notification that the accreditation will remain in effect until the next annual reporting period or the expiration date of the accreditation, whichever comes first. The annual report is essential for HVAC Excellence to assess whether any significant changes to the educational faculty or program have occurred within the past year that may affect compliance with the accreditation standards.

Accredited programs that fail to submit an annual report as required will be notified by telephone. The program chair or instructor will have thirty days to comply. After thirty days, if the school still fails to comply, a letter will be mailed to the school's chief administrator indicating the intent to suspend the accreditation. If the annual report is not received within forty-five days, the administration will receive a certified letter officially suspending the program's accreditation. Suspension will include the removal of the school’s status as an accredited program from the HVAC Excellence website and the school will need to remove the accredited logo from any program literature and/or website.

Programs who are in the process of applying for re-accreditation may be exempt from annual reporting requirements in the year they apply for re-accreditation.

Disclaimer: HVAC Excellence reserves the right to refuse accreditation if it believes that such accreditation may negatively impact the integrity and purpose of the overall program, even if the program or institution meets the qualifications set forth above. In such exceptional circumstances, HVAC Excellence will refund the application fee to the applying program.


  • Candidacy: Granted to an educational program that has submitted its application, program video, and application fees. Candidacy status is limited to a maximum of one year. Any program that is in candidacy will be granted additional time of one year to complete their self-study if they can show extraordinary issues with compliance. All programs seeking accreditation must use the latest published version of the manual standards.
  • Notice: Issued by the accreditation review board when it has reason to believe that an accredited program is not in compliance with any of the standards. The program is required to address the stated compliance issues within a specified period or submit an approved plan of action. Failure to demonstrate compliance may result in the suspension of the program's accreditation.
  • Suspension: When a program fails to resolve compliance issues within the required time after receiving a notice, its accreditation is suspended until the situation is resolved.