NCOA’s National Institute of Senior Centers (NISC) offers the nation’s only National Senior Center Accreditation Program.
To advance the quality of senior centers nationwide, NISC developed the program with nine standards of excellence for senior center operations. These standards serve as a guide for all senior centers to improve their operations today—and position themselves for the future. Read the introduction to our Standards & Accreditation manual for more insights on what it takes to achieve accreditation. NOTE: This is not the full manual for accreditation. NISC members can contact the NISC Accreditation Office for the full accreditation manual, or can download the manual from NISC Crossroads.
More than 200 senior centers have been accredited, and many more are in the process. Use the resources below to learn more about these centers:
- Interactive map of accredited centers
- List of currently accredited centers
- 2016 Nationally Accredited centers
- 2015 Nationally Accredited centers
- 2014 Nationally Accredited centers
- 2013 Nationally Accredited centers
- 2012 Nationally Accredited centers
Why get accredited?
Improve your organization
The accreditation process improves and strengthens overall senior center operations. It results in official recognition that a senior center is meeting its mission in a nationally accepted, professional fashion.
Connect to the community
During the self-assessment process, staff, participants, board members, aging service agency representatives, and the community come together to look at the senior center and compare it to the standards that have been established by NISC. Together, the center and the community identify strengths and areas that need improvement and develop a strategy. Many centers report that this has led to funding opportunities, new collaborative partners, and an increase in programs or participation.
Develop a plan for the future
Throughout the process, centers have access to a specially designated accreditation hotline to get the information and guidance they need to develop a vision for the future. They are provided with a written strategic plan, and receive technical assistance in determining outcome measurements to improve overall senior center operations.
Enhance your center’s image
Accreditation creates an opportunity to establish your senior center’s position as a leader in positive aging. You can use this national recognition strategically to heighten awareness of the importance of your center and showcase your excellence to funders, participants, families, and other key people in your community. Collectively, accreditation raises the bar for all of us. It legitimizes senior centers as professionally managed, relevant, and vital resources for older adults.
Steps to Beginning Accreditation
- Make sure your center has a NISC membership, and join NISC if it doesn’t.
- Contact the NISC Accreditation Office to obtain the Building Excellence: National Senior Center Standards and Accreditation Manual, which will be your guide to accreditation. You can also download the manual from NISC Crossroads by going to the Members Library.
- Submit an Intent to Self-Assess form, which can be filled out online or found in the Building Excellence manual. NOTE: A $500 deposit is due upon submission of this form.
- Consult the Building Excellence Manual to begin the Self-Assessment Process, and ask us if you have any questions!
What senior centers are saying …
The most rewarding benefit of accreditation is the process and an action plan for achieving a bright future.
It portrays the senior center in a positive light in terms of being a viable, fundable, and qualified provider of services within the community.
I love being able to say that we are nationally accredited and first in the state. Our organization’s accountability and quality of services was proven.
Contact the NISC Accreditation Office: