Online Teaching Course Accreditation Committee

The OTCAC Accreditation Process



The purpose of the Online Training Certification Accreditation Committee (OTCAC) accreditation process is to offer online course providers professional judgment as to the quality of their online program(s) offered. Our service encourages such providers the ability and motivation to continually improve their course content and services offered to enrolled and prospective students. Ultimately, our course accreditation provides students at such online institutions confidence that their course(s) meet(s) industry standards and that the course provider continually strives to improve not only the content provided but the service delivered.

Accreditation by OTCAC is the process by which the Online Training Certification Accreditation Committee (OTCAC) publicly recognizes the validity of an educational institution that provides English-based online courses within our professional staff members’ scope of expertise. Such an institution must have voluntarily submitted to a full evaluation process which compares the quality and content of their submitted course(s) with established course standards. Furthermore, institutions succeeding in attaining accreditation must have demonstrated that its course(s) and general practices are in compliance with the official OTCAC Standards for Accreditation. This point refers to both the initial application and as outlined thereafter. 

OTCAC’s sole purpose is to provide an objective framework of standards to ensure that online educational courses reach and maintain an explicit and measurable quality of education. This is achieved by initial and continuous assessment of institutions carrying the stamp of OTCAC accreditation, which motivates them to constantly strive for improvement of their practices and to maintain clearly specified standards throughout their program(s). OTCAC’s membership system promulgates educational course providers’ willingness and ability to meet explicit targets and sustain a measurable level of educational quality.

The three key components of the ongoing process of OTCAC’s promotion of sustainable educational quality are as follows: 

(1) implementation of clearly defined program goals and objectives that focus on teaching students to a predetermined and pre-defined level

(2) ongoing analytic self-evaluation by member institutions; 

(3) full-access, online professional peer review which independently evaluates the course(s) based on meeting OTCAC’s standards and accuracy of the institution’s self-evaluation, culminating in an independent report assessing the institution’s success in meeting all expected standards.

During the accreditation process, an institution must provide the Committee with accurate and complete information pertaining to all course content and requirements for passing, certification, or any other form of completing the course(s), including resitting courses and absences, failures, and refund policies. Failure to report to OTCAC honestly before, during, or at any time after the initial accreditation process, by providing misleading or false information, including omission, will be deemed a breach of integrity and result in withdrawal of the institution’s accreditation status and a loss of all fees paid up until that date.



A continuing education program is defined by OTCAC for purposes of our accreditation (as guided by the Higher Education Act: p94) as “postsecondary instruction designed to meet the educational needs and interests of adults, including the expansion of available learning opportunities for adults who are not adequately served by current educational offerings in their communities.” OTCAC accredits institutions that provide continuing education and training programs solely when they relate to courses within the scope of mainstream high school curricular subjects and training as part of continuing education. An example of the latter is pedagogy-based online courses for Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). Other continuing education online training courses considered beyond the scope of OTCAC staff expertise will not be considered for accreditation. The Committee makes such decisions prior to charging a fee from course providers. Additionally, OTCAC offers accreditation to online primary, middle, and high school review or supplementary courses specifically related to Cambridge, Oxford, Advanced Placement (AP), and International Baccalaureate (IB) curricula.

Learning is the activity by which people acquire new knowledge and skills; education is the process that facilitates such learning. While education is generally used as the broad descriptive term for these learning experiences, depending upon the context, education is viewed as emphasizing the theoretical and conceptual elements of learning. In contrast, training focuses on practical applications of knowledge and skills with specific practical experiences. Learning experiences associated with continuing education focus on adult learners, building on previous education and experiences to address their present and future needs and goals. Continuing education enables adults to develop new vocational skills; enhance credentials necessary for career promotion; to attain certification; or for personal development. OTCAC accredits institutions that offer continuing education programs for the fulfillment of all of the latter goals.

OTCAC provides institutional accreditation for organizations. OTCAC is also able to offer accreditation to online primary, middle, and high school review or supplementary courses in the fields of English language and English literature specifically related to Cambridge, Oxford, Advanced Placement (AP), and International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculums. OTCAC can also provide accreditation to further education courses, especially those offering TESL, TEFL, and TESOL certification to adult students (aged 18 years and over) located across the globe. Institutions must offer their course(s) in only English language without offering translated variations or alternatives. Translated courses are beyond the scope of OTCAC’s capabilities.

OTCAC accreditation only applies to fully online course providers. Consistent with other educational accrediting agencies, OTCAC does not and cannot grant academic credit or any other educational measurement unit to institutions or their online course(s). Academic credit can be granted only by educational institutions licensed or chartered by federal or state governments. Additionally, the transferability of academic credit between institutions is at the sole discretion of those directly involved.



To be eligible for accreditation by OTCAC, an institution must meet the following requirements:

1. It has a body of individuals with a provable expert background in the field of which the courses directly teach actively involved in a prescribed learning format and setting.

2. It can demonstrate continuous, ongoing, and successful operation of the institution in delivering education and training programs for at least two months immediately before application. The term “continuous operation” means that an institution’s principal educational and training activities, for which accreditation or reaccreditation is sought, has proceeded as scheduled without interruption. Exceptions may be recognized after the fact when the interruption is caused by forces of nature, civil disorder, or abrupt and unforeseeable change in law or regulation affecting the institution. This requirement may be waived if the course creators work in the field of education and can demonstrate their involvement in an actual institution related to the subject of the course(s) they are seeking to accredit. For example, if a course on high school chemistry is created by a practicing teacher, that course is eligible for accreditation even though it has not been offered to students two months prior to seeking accreditation. An institution may also apply for an exception before the fact upon application to the Committee and a showing of good cause for the exception. Applications must be submitted promptly to permit proper consideration of the application.

3. It has not had a prior accreditation withdrawn – voluntarily or forcibly – from initial applications to OTCAC within one year.

4. It has been under the same ownership and control for at least two months immediately before application. The Committee may waive this requirement upon providing acceptable documentation showing the applicant institution is owned or controlled by an organization and individual(s) with a reputable history of ethical, competent, and effective management and prior experience operating an educational entity.

5. It is an educational establishment that offers certificates (in the case of TESL, TEFL, and TESOL courses) and review and practice (in the case of primary, secondary, and high school English courses). If the institution offers more advanced degrees or training, specifically at the bachelor’s degree level and above, that entity will not be eligible for accreditation.

6. It prescribes a time requirement for the education and training offered in clock hours and, if applicable, credit hours.

7. It agrees upon application and accreditation to abide by the OTCAC Standards for Accreditation, policies, and procedures and support the accreditation process’s goals and integrity.

The OTCAC organization


OTCAC membership consists solely of accredited institutions based on meeting the standards outlined in OTCAC’s Standards for Accreditation.

The Accrediting Committee consists of no fewer than two (2) nor more than nine (9) members.

The Accrediting Committee manages the administrative and fiscal affairs of OTCAC. It serves as the judicial body with the final authority to interpret and apply the Standards for Accreditation in determining whether or not an applicant institution meets the published criteria for OTCAC accreditation. Based upon the eligibility criteria, the Committee decides whether it is competent to apply the OTCAC Standards to specific educational programs. The Committee is responsible for submitting proposed changes in the eligibility requirements and the Standards for Accreditation to the membership for review and approval. The Committee may adopt such policies and procedures as it deems necessary concerning the accreditation process but must notify members with advance notice of any such changes. Advance notice must be a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 12 months, depending on when the member institution last renewed their membership or initially gained accreditation. OTCAC committee members are required to hold postgraduate degrees and/or be experts in their field with a proven track record of successful experience.

Committee meetings are held online via Zoom (previously Skype) whenever necessary or at least annually to reflect on Committee standards and address potential educational developments and essential changes to the Standards for Accreditation.

The Accreditation Process - Initial Inquiry


Institutions inquiring about accreditation with OTCAC are directed to the website ( to review OTCAC documentation, which outlines the accreditation standards, policies, and procedures. Interested candidates are then invited to contact OTCAC via email or by completing and submitting the required information via the ‘contact form.’ No money will be charged at the initial inquiry point while OTCAC Committee representatives determine if an applying institution is a viable candidate for accreditation by OTCAC.

Online Visitation


An institution must provide OTCAC with their institution’s main website where their courses are delivered. The website must be fully functional with course information (including all units, learning objectives, prices, and lengths) visible to the public, allowing OTCAC administrators to conduct a thorough initial review. All terms and conditions and cookie and privacy policies must be fully accessible to the public and, therefore, OTCAC staff. Site visitors must be informed about cookie policy when first accessing the site to comply with EU internet laws. New sites without current public access can be accredited depending on circumstances and OTCAC access to course materials.

Failure to abide by any of the above conditions will likely result in OTCAC suspending the accreditation process at this stage until such requirements are met, and a period of not less than three months has passed.

Application for Accreditation


Formal application to OTCAC to begin accreditation begins only after OTCAC administrators are satisfied with the above online visitation outcome and consider the institution a suitable candidate for OTCAC accreditation. The same institution will then be invited by email to complete two forms: Form 1.1 – OTCAC Application for Accreditation and Form 1.2 – Self-Evaluation Report for Accreditation.

At this stage, institutions must sign a copy of OTCAC’s Standards for Accreditation and pay the initial OTCAC accreditation fee. This fee is subject to change annually but will never change between initial contact from an institution and the point of payment. This policy protects our potential clients from wasted time and resources.

The application must include supporting documentation relating to ownership of the main website where the course-providing institution’s content is delivered. Alternatively, displaying a temporary OTCAC code in the website’s footer for a short period will be accepted as proof of website ownership.

The current Fee Schedule can be found on or by contacting OTCAC administration. All payments must be made on the OTCAC website by credit card. Our system relies on secure PayPal payments to protect your privacy, personal information, and money. OTCAC never views nor has access to your credit card details. However, the OTCAC website is SSL secure, ensuring that any details you provide, such as your name and organization, are encrypted.

Acceptance of the application is not an indication or assessment of the institution’s compliance with the Standards for Accreditation, but merely an initial indicator of congruence with the eligibility requirements. The supporting documentation will be reviewed and analyzed to make a final determination for acceptance of the application.



Applicants must submit an honest and detailed self-evaluation report (SER), which will be used in conjunction with a full-access visit to the site (open access to all relevant courses from the perspective of students of such classes). Institutions are in no way required to allow full administrative access to OTCAC accreditors. Staff must be allowed to view content as a regular student would receive the content. This allows OTCAC staff to determine if an institution’s course(s) meet(s) strict OTCAC standards on clear access.

Access will be requested via unique user login details, including a username and password, allowing full access to all parts of a course or courses within the scope of accreditation. OTCAC will request to have access via the login account from the date of receiving the request until either accreditation is granted or denied, both of which will be no more than 6 months from the date that OTCAC receives login details via confirmed email. The process usually takes much less time, however.

OTCAC Committee staff will use the SER to cross-check against the website and determine if courses, content, and presentation meet OTCAC’s objective standards.

Institutions will have access to any discrepancies detailed by OTCAC accreditors and have a formal opportunity to comment on each occurrence. There is no guarantee that these responses will be considered, but they may help provide context or clarify specific points that can assist fair judgment of the course(s).

The applying institution may not drastically alter course content or functionality during the online accreditation process without formally giving notice to OTCAC at least two weeks before the first amendment.

Team report & Institutional response


OTCAC will notify the institution once all online inspections have been completed. Within approximately 30 calendar days from the date of completion of the online evaluation, a written report will be sent by email to the applicant institution, providing an opportunity to respond and submit additional documentation, clarification, and new information pertinent to factors existent at the time of the visit. The institution will be given 14 calendar days to submit any response to the OTCAC Committee inspection report by email. The OTCAC team report(s) and other supplementary reports are treated as confidential materials and are not shared with other OTCAC members, the press, or the public. However, these materials may be subject to review by appropriate state and federal agencies or courts of law per statutes and regulations.

Notice of committee action


The applicant institution will be notified by email (and in writing, if requested) within 30 calendar days of the action taken by OTCAC regarding the institution’s application for accreditation.

TTime Schedule


While there is no fixed, definitive timeframe for completing the entire accreditation review process, 2-6 months is a reasonable estimate for an institution committed to a serious investment of the necessary effort and resources. Applicants may apply at any point throughout the year, but timing may affect the accreditation process’s length concerning public holidays and the school calendar. Appropriate documentation and fees are expected promptly. Failure to provide documentation and fees within 12 weeks from receiving the initial email requesting such action will result in the application being suspended. Failure to provide OTCAC staff login access within 12 weeks from payment of fees will result in the application being suspended. No refunds can be provided in such circumstances. Institutions may apply for an extension of this period by stating any compelling reasons for the extension by email. OTCAC Committee Members will have the final decision in determining if an extension can be granted based on the evidence or circumstances provided.

Upon receiving accreditation


Following an institution attaining course accreditation, it will be sent the official OTCAC logo in a range of formats (e.g., JPG, PNG, etc.) and colours to display on each website to guarantee customers/students that the institution offers the course(s) accredited by OTCAC. All company websites offering accredited courses must display the OTCAC accreditation code adjacent to the logo. It is recommended to place the logo and OTCAC code on the footer of the site. The purpose of this requirement is to allow prospective students to check the validity of the institution’s accreditation and each separate course that has been accredited.

Accreditation includes the first year of OTCAC membership. Following this first year, annual membership fees must be paid. Details of these fees can be found on the OTCAC website or by contacting the OTCAC administration. Consultants will peruse online institutions’ sites for any inconsistencies or deviations from the previous year’s course details and provide them with a written report.

Should a course or institution fail to meet OTCAC standards on the return visit, they will be informed in the written report and allowed a maximum period of 4 weeks to return the course and website to its original state or amend it to meet OTCAC standards. Membership fees are fixed in price until the reassessment period in 2025.

General policies


Please note the following OTCAC policies regarding accreditation:

1. Accreditation is a voluntary, self-regulatory process, conducted based on published standards, policies, and procedures, and judged by an independent Committee of knowledgeable peers. The burden of proof for meeting the accreditation standards rests on the institution, showing that the administrative oversight, curricula, and educational methodologies are used to produce significant and beneficial outcomes. The institution’s educational mission, goals, and objectives must be demonstrated through successful results realized by students, and employers, if applicable, related to competency factors. To ensure a comprehensive and informative evaluation by the Committee, all correspondence and documentation must be provided in English to OTCAC.

2. Each institution is evaluated and considered for accreditation based on its established objectives for meeting its clients’ and employers’ education and training requirements. Each program is evaluated within its context and not in comparison with other programs OTCAC will accept

3. Applications in new fields of study taught in the English language determine sufficient expertise to evaluate the course(s) effectively.

4. OTCAC approval is required before an OTCAC accredited institution may operate under a new name, new location, or change of place, or offer a new program or a program with a major revision or significant departure in the program’s content or delivery. An OTCAC approval application is also required within fourteen (14) days following the consummation of a change of ownership and control. Applications for OTCAC approval of such changes must include documented evidence of consent by the state, exemption of state approval, approval/licensure utilizing accreditation, or other state designation which does not require prior state approval for such changes.

5. The Accrediting Committee serves to validate and improve educational quality; it does not function as a standardizing board. OTCAC is in no way purporting itself to be a committee affiliated with the government or publicly regulated bodies. OTCAC accredits courses based on our Committee’s knowledge and expertise in mainstream high school subjects and further education training courses mainly restricted to TEFL or similar pedagogical training.

6. Applicant institutions are reviewed and judged as a whole. Major significant strengths may offset minor remediable weaknesses; however, any area’s significant weakness may prevent accreditation despite strengths in other areas.

7. Accreditation can be granted for a minimum of one year and requires ongoing annual membership fees and access checks. Following the initial grant of accreditation, institutions will be required to apply for re-accreditation by completing the full process, including an application, SER, and online reevaluation(s) before the expiration date cited in their letter of accreditation from OTCAC, which is fixed at a maximum of 6 calendar years. Within this term, membership fees are payable, and OTCAC staff will perform several online site checks along with annual surveying of accredited institutions. Re-accreditation applicants will be contacted six months from the date of expiration of their six-year accreditation period.

8. OTCAC reserves the right to require a full, open-access evaluation of any accredited courses via secure online login at any time it determines that circumstances warrant such action. At least four weeks’ notice will be provided to institutions in the event of this occurrence.

9. The OTCAC Standards for Accreditation are under constant monitoring and review by the Accrediting Committee and periodically, at intervals no greater than every six years, are submitted to the membership and other interested parties for review and comment.

10. OTCAC accredited institutions can be verified by visiting and inputting the provider’s name and code. This system allows us to reveal detailed information about institutions to prospective students while protecting them from potential spamming and malicious targeting. The directory includes each institution’s name, web address, email, and a listing of the programs/courses offered in addition to the designation of the year in which each institution is scheduled for reevaluation or expiration of its accredited status.