Accreditation is a documented status awarded after an institution has submitted its policies and procedures, finances and governing structure, faculty qualifications and educational resources before a recognized accrediting agency and has met or exceeded that agency’s standards of excellence. It assures the prospective student, their families, and the general public that the institution has the means necessary to accomplished its stated mission and goals.
In the United States, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), a private non-profit organization of degree-granting colleges and universities, maintains a list of recognized accreditation agencies for various fields of study and professional training. Although there are several accrediting agencies recognized for Christian ministry preparation and theological studies, the most prestigious is the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). Historic divinity schools and seminaries such as Yale, Harvard, Duke, George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Regent College and Fuller Seminary, are accredited by the ATS. Yellowstone Theological Institute is working with the ATS for its accreditation. YTI is actively abiding by ATS standards as it seeks associate membership.
As a new institution, the actual process of accreditation for YTI begins with its application to the ATS. Upon the graduation of its first class, ATS begins the examination process. From that point it takes approximately six years to become a fully accredited member of ATS. Once that process is complete, degrees granted during the process are then recognized as fully accredited degrees.
Accreditation is required by some certification boards (e.g. Association of Professional Chaplains) and often the normal requirement for doctoral study programs. YTI intends to be ATS standard compliant from the outset so accreditation can be secured in a timely fashion.
As a student looking for graduate theological education, you can rest assured that the Yellowstone Theological Institute is pursuing accreditation, and that your degree will be fully accredited.
Dr. Jay Smith, President