What is Accreditation?


Accreditation is a pillar of Assistance Dogs International.  ADI accredits not-for-profit programs that place assistance dogs to ensure that they adhere to the highest standards in all aspects of their operations, including ethical treatment and training of dogs, ethical treatment of clients, solid service dog training and follow-up care.  Only the not-for-profit programs that have been accredited can be a member of ADI.  ADI does not provide membership to individuals or for-profit programs. 

Areas evaluated include:

  • Criteria for administration of all program operationsA black Labrador retriever is taking a blue towel out of a dryer and giving it to a person in a wheelchair.
  • Fair and ethical treatment of clients
  • Humane training methods for the dogs
  • Proper health care for the dogs
  • Safety and cleanliness of the training facility
  • Criteria for screening suitability of both dogs and clients
  • Criteria for matching dogs and clients
  • Compliance with all legal regulations
  • Procedure for puppy raising within a prison system
  • Proper training and evaluation of owner-trained assistance dog teams

Accreditation is a peer-review process that involves submission of paperwork in advance (a pre-packet) of an on-site survey by a trained accreditation assessor. The on-site survey is conducted over several days that includes the assessor interviewing staff, clients, volunteers, and board member; reviewing paperwork and files; observing clients and dog training; and inspecting the program’s facilities in order to make sure that all of ADI’s Standards are being met.  All programs are required to be re-accredited every five (5) years in order to maintain their ADI accreditation membership status.

IMPORTANT: To apply for the ADI accreditation process, programs must be an ADI Accredited member or Candidate program in good standing. Candidate programs must have been a Candidate for at least 2 years and have placed at least 10 assistance dog teams to be eligible to apply for an ADI accreditation survey.  Information about how to apply as Candidate program can be found on the Candidates page

A golden retriever is holding a TV remote in its mouth. It is wearing a green assistance dog vest. For more information about the accreditation process please contact:

Laura Hilbert, Accreditation Coordinator
[email protected]