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Applying for Academic Program Accreditation
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The National Wellness Institute invites institutions offering a four-year curriculum in health promotion and wellness to apply for academic program accreditation. Upon review of the online application and a visit to the campus, the NWI Council on Wellness Accreditation and Education (CWAE) determines the final status of the program. If the program fully meets the standards, it will receive full-approval for a ten-year period. The department will be required to submit a brief mid-term report (i.e., a formal internal program review) halfway through the accreditation period. Programs that generally meet the standards as determined by the NWI CWAE but still have identified deficiencies may receive provisional approval for a four-year period of time. Provisional approvals are limited to two consecutive application cycles.

Steps to Apply

  • Contact NWI at 715.342.2969 or apa@nationalwellness.org to discuss your school's interest in applying for academic program accreditation.
  • Submit application materials through the NWI online application process at least 60 days prior to the scheduled site visit.
  • Pay the $1,200 application fee. Applications will not be reviewed until the application fee is received.
  • Host a one-day site visit for an NWI representative. Developing the site review itinerary is the responsibility of the institution being reviewed. A sample agenda is available to applying institutions upon request.
  • Provide a $1,000 stipend for the site reviewer and cover all travel, lodging, and meal costs associated with the site visit.

To apply for re-accreditation, please submit a complete application with payment no later than one semester prior to the accreditation expiration date.

Accreditation Periods
NWI accepts applications at any time during an academic year; however programs will be accepted for one of two accreditation periods: 1) January 1 through December 31, or 2) July 1-June 30. For the current graduating class to be eligible for Certified Wellness Practitioner (CWP) status, online applications must be submitted at least 60 days prior to the start of one of these accreditation periods. Individuals graduating from an accredited program within 24 months of submitting their CWP application are eligible to apply as a graduate of an NWI accredited academic program.

Application Requirements
The online application process allows individuals to enter information and upload documents (PDFs preferred) as evidence that the program covers the core content areas noted below. Click here to download an application checklist to assist in gathering the necessary information to apply for accreditation.

Core Content Areas
To receive accreditation approval, programs must illustrate through the application process that the following content areas are included in the program curriculum.

Scientific Basis

  • Human physiology
  • Functional anatomy and/or kinesiology
  • Basic statistics (i.e., assessment, collection, and testing of research data)
  • Basic psychology/health psychology
  • Basic nutrition

Building Healthy Behaviors

  • Health assessment, evaluation, and programming
  • Health behavior change process/theory
  • Exercise physiology and exercise programming (e.g., personal training, exercise prescription)
  • Nutrition applications (e.g., best practices for obesity reduction, healthy eating choices)
  • Substance abuse (e.g., tobacco, alcohol, drug use)
  • Stress management (e.g., mindful meditation, time management, retraining the brain)
  • Wellness for Special Populations (e.g., wellness in aging, adolescents, ESL, incarcerated, cancer survivors)

Professional Preparation

  • Wellness philosophy and role modeling
  • Wellness/health promotion program implementation
  • Practicum experiences (practical, hands-on experience working with individuals/groups in the classroom, on campus, or in the community)
  • Wellness internship (practical experience at a company/organization)

Management Foundation

  • Wellness communication and marketing
  • Health and wellness management (e.g., human resources, health benefit design, wellness program/facility management)

Questions? E-mail apa@nationalwellness.org or call 715.342.2969.