Arkansas Tech University's Recreation and Park Administration Program is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Related Professions (COAPRT), formerly known as the NRPA/AAPAR Council on Accreditation. The RPA program at Arkansas Tech University was first accredited in 1997, and is the only program in the state of Arkansas with accreditation status.
Accreditation is a status granted to an institution, program, or other entity that meets stated criteria of quality. Accreditation has two fundamental purposes: to assure quality and to assure improvement and is voluntary. Applications for accreditation may be submitted by any institution offering a four-year curriculum in recreation, park resources and leisure services education. Various factors enter into a program's decision to seek this status. Accredited programs have undergone a rigorous process of self-assessment and peer review and have met standards established by the profession itself.
The Council on Accreditation is itself accredited by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
COAPRT standard 2.05.05 requires reporting of aggregated results of learning outcomes assessment. Results for the most recent academic year (2012/13) follow:
- 70% of graduates report that they possess adequate knowledge and skills to become an entry-level professional in Recreation and Park Administration.
- 92% of students demonstrated the ability to design and lead recreation programs successfully.
- 75% of students demonstrated the ability to apply principles and practices of infrastructure management.
CHEA requires accredited institutions to inform the public about degree and accreditation mills. Cautions concerning these are summarized in a video that can be viewed at Here.
According to CHEA,
"Degree mills and accreditation millsmislead and harm. In the United States, degrees and certificates from mills may not be acknowledged by other institutions when students seek to transfer or go to graduate school. Employers may not acknowledge degrees and certificates from degree mills when providing tuition assistance for continuing education. Accreditation from an accreditation mill can mislead students and the public about the quality of an institution or program. In the presence of degree mills and accreditation mills, students may spend a good deal of money and receive neither an education nor a useable credential."
Read more on CHEAs website.
Arkansas Tech University is accredited by the North Central Association.