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Commission on
English Language Program
Accreditation (CEA)

The Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA), a not-for-profit corporation, focuses on the accreditation of postsecondary English language programs and institutions in the United States. The underlying principles of CEA accreditation are the following:
  • Advance standards and promote excellence in English language instruction and in the administration of English language programs and institutions.

  • Provide an objective means to review the quality of programs and institutions using validated standards of the profession through voluntary peer review.

  • Use trained and experienced professionals to take part in identifying the strengths and areas of improvement of English language programs and institutions seeking accreditation.

  • Publicly recognize programs and institutions that meet the standards.

  • Assure the quality of English language programs and institutions for students and the public.
An English language program or institution, its administrative staff, teaching staff, and students benefit directly from involvement in a comprehensive assessment of how effectively the program or institution meets its stated mission. By evaluating the quality of educational programs and services with respect to the CEA Standards for English Language Programs and Institutions, the program or institution can gauge its effectiveness against benchmarks set by the profession. Accreditation by CEA provides recognition for the programs or institutions among peers.

CEA trains professionals in the field of English as a second or foreign language to serve as reviewers. Persons with review, self-study, or consulting experience in English language programs and institutions may apply. If chosen, prospective reviewers must attend a training workshop.

The existence of CEA is the result of many years of hard work by language teaching professionals. The availability of a specialized accrediting agency for English language programs and institutions was conceived by leaders in the field of English language teaching as long ago as the 1970s.

In the early 1990s representatives from the American Association of Intensive English Programs (AAIEP) approached Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. (TESOL) and proposed that TESOL create such an agency.

TESOL convened a task force to investigate the possibilities and in 1995 established the Accreditation Advisory Committee. The Committee was charged with writing standards for intensive English programs and creating the administrative structure for an accrediting agency.

Comprising members with a broad range of experience in postsecondary education and English language teaching and administration, the Committee drafted the TCA Standards for Intensive English Programs and became the first commissioners of the newly-established TESOL Commission on Accreditation.

In 1999, the TESOL Board of Directors voted on the separate incorporation of the accrediting agency, which incorporated under the name of the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA). One of the first tasks of the new Commission was to revise the TCA Standards to reflect the new scope of CEA accreditation English language programs and institutions.

Click here to select CEA accredited institutions in our directory of US schools.

Further information from:

Commission on English Language Program Accreditation
1725 Duke Street, Suite 500
Alexandria, VA 22314-3457

Teresa D. O'Donnell, Executive Director
Tel: +1 (703) 519-2070
Fax: +1 (703) 683-8099
Email: todonnell@cea-accredit.org

CEA website: http://www.cea-accredit.org/

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