Accreditation Organization Standards

PICS 15-Point Organization Standards

The below standards represent the minimum required standards for an organization to be compliant with PICS standard 0.1.115.  Companies that meet these standards are encouraged to apply for certification to highlight their commitment to process improvement educational excellence.  MSI considers these standards to be open-source and public comment on them is both welcomed and encouraged.

  1. Proof of legal business entity, publicly listed phone number and address.
    1. Organization must be able to show proof of legal business entity.
    2. Must have a publicly listed phone number.
    3. Must have a publicly listed address.

  2. Clearly stated refund policy.
    1. If fees are paid to the organization, the organization must publicly list their refund policy.  The organization is not required to offer a refund, however they must state to a perspective student that no refunds are offered prior to the student registering for a program.

  3. Clearly stated student-information privacy policy.
    1. The organization must list exactly how they intend to use a student’s personal information.  This includes reselling of student information, use of email address, and record retention policy.

  4. All training programs should have a course syllabus available to student before enrollment.
    1. Course syllabus must include all general training topics covered throughout the training.
    2. Syllabus should also include specific course information such as books that must be purchased and the amount of time needed for the training.

  5. If a fee is charged, student should clearly understand what they will receive for their payment.
    1. Does the fee only include training?
    2. Is the cost of the certification exam included?
    3. Does the student have access to an instructor?
    4. Books, software, project examples?

  6. Clearly list how courses are developed and a clearly listed training material update policy.
    1. Is the material created by industry experts?
    2. How often is the material updated?

  7. Programs should attempt to accommodate multiple learning-styles.
    1. Students learn differently.  Training programs should attempt to address at least two learning styles to accommodate and enhance the learning experience.
    2. Learning styles include:  Visual, Aural, Verbal, Physical, Logical, Social, Solitary.
    3. Not all programs are required to meet this standard however the company must show good-faith attempts at implementing this requirement.

  8. Student must have the ability to give feedback after training.
    1. Student must be able to submit a review-form regarding any training they are provided.
    2. Company should have a written policy regarding the analysis of these review forms and how student feedback will be used to improve programs.

  9. Explanation of the training theory.  What body of knowledge or standard is being followed.
    1. PICS publishes a standard for multiple process improvement methodologies.  Certified training organizations are not required to follow this exact standard.  You may follow other published standards, or even develop your own standards for training.  Regardless, you must publicly state which standards you follow.  Training companies may also follow more than one standard.  For example, they may follow both PICS and internal company-developed standards.
    2. Bloom’s Taxonomy – Training programs must state which level of the Bloom’s Taxonomy their program is designed to achieve.  If an organization issues certificates or certifications, the exam must test a student to achieve the stated level.

  10. For each training program, clearly list hours or time-frame that a student should expect to complete the training.
    1. How long will the training course take the student to complete?
    2. How long will they have access to the training material?
    3. If an exam is issued, how long do they have to complete the exam?

  11. If the company offers a certificate of completion or certification they should clearly list:
    1. Does the certificate expire?  If so, when?
    2. What is required for re-certification?

  12. Is there specific training that is required before you are allowed to take the certification exam?
    1. If you offer a certification exam, is the student required to take training from you before taking the exam?

  13. Is there an exam that you must pass to be certified?  If so, what is the re-take policy.
    1. What happens if the student fails the exam?
    2. Is there a re-take fee?

  14. Are there significant questions on the exam to test a person’s competence in the subject.
    1. PICS standards dictate that all certification exams should have a minimum number of questions.  These numbers represent the minimum required.
      1. 25 questions (50-question bank)
      2. 50 questions (75-question bank)
      3. 85 questions (150-question bank)
    2. Training companies should use common-sense judgement and industry guidelines to match exam level of competency to minimum exam question standards.

  15. Is a project required.  Why or why not.
    1. PICS does not “require” that a training company has a project requirement for certification.
    2. PICS certified organizations must state if a project is required for training or certification.