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Reviewer system

At COA, we strongly believe in grounding our process in our human and social services community. That is why we conduct our Site Visits and finalize accreditation decisions not with our staff, but with peer review volunteers. Our volunteers receive no compensation; they generously donate their time and talent and represent a pool of seasoned, skilled professionals in the field.

Our peer review volunteers are:

  • A diverse and talented group of 400+ professionals coming from 43 states and 4 countries, together representing hundreds of years of experience in the field
  • Old hands at COA accreditation, all of them coming from COA accredited organizations and often having been the accreditation lead themselves
  • Commonly still in the field, making them knowledgeable about the latest theory and practice
  • Passionate about helping to ensure the delivery of quality services and supports
  • Thoroughly vetted and trained to give organizations undergoing their Site Visit an objective, high-caliber review

The reviewers that make up the Accreditation Commission (which looks at the evidence presented by an organization to make an approval decision) are our most experienced volunteers, dedicated to ensuring that organizations consistently strive to improve the quality and effectiveness of the services they offer in order to deliver the best possible care to their clients.

Becoming a peer review volunteer

We pride ourselves on the caliber of our volunteer team and have stringent eligibility criteria to determine who can join it. Specific criterion vary depending on the accreditation line a volunteer will cover, but generally include:

  • Current or past employment with a COA-accredited organization
  • Demonstrated experience in an accreditation, military, or governmental evaluation process geared toward improving human or social services
  • Previous experience with standards evaluation
  • A graduate degree in a human service discipline, or a non-human service degree and service management experience
  • At least 5 years of management and supervisory experience
  • Expertise in at least 5 COA service areas with a current résumé supporting the areas of expertise
  • Recommendation letter from an active COA volunteer, Accreditation Commissioner, or representative from one of COA’s Sponsoring or Supporting Organizations

Training begins with 3 self-paced modules and 2 days of face-to-face training, followed by regular updates throughout a reviewer’s tenure with us to ensure that they remain informed and equipped to conduct quality Site Visits.

Ready to become a volunteer yourself? We’d love to have you! Visit this page to start the process.