Key Takeaways

  • NCOA’s National Institute of Senior Centers (NISC) offers the nation’s only National Senior Center Accreditation Program.

  • Get answers to frequently asked questions about National Senior Center Accreditation.

  • Learn more about the process NISC takes and what your senior center will need to do to start accreditation.


What is the National Senior Center Accreditation process?

Accreditation is a two-phase process:

  1. Community Self-Assessment: Based on standards of Senior Center operation with key questions addressed by members of Board of Directors, staff, participants, community stakeholders, etc.
  2. Accreditation: Involves compiling supporting documentation related to the National Senior Center Self-Assessment and National Accreditation Manual, an on-site review of documentation and the Center by a certified Peer Reviewer, and a review of the Peer Reviewers' findings and recommendation by the National Accreditation Board. Cost is based on Senior Center's budget and peer review expenses.

How do I start accreditation?

NISC Members can request the Building Excellence standards manual from the NISC Accreditation Office at no cost. Contact

Can any size senior center be accredited?

Yes, this process was tested on eight senior centers ranging from a store front to a multi-site organization and worked with all of them.

How much time does it take to get accredited?

To date, most senior centers that have gone through the process have taken six to 12 months for completion.

When does accreditation expire?

Accreditation is for a five-year period and there is a process for renewing the accreditation.

What technical assistance is available?

You have access to two kinds of technical assistance:

  • Self Assessment Manual
  • NISC : 1-800-373-4906

What is the history behind NISC's accreditation?

NCOA/NISC received a large, corporate-funded grant to develop and refine a national process of accreditation of eight senior centers through a demonstration in seven states. This accreditation process was based upon the NISC Senior Centers Standards and Self-Assessment Workbook material previously developed and tested. As a companion to the development and testing of this accreditation process, a public awareness campaign will be designed and tested in order to foster the public's understanding of senior centers and the role that they play in the community and the lives of older persons and their family.

For more information about NISC, contact us via e-mail: