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Accreditation is for WEA programs that provide both outdoor education and leadership training with a goal to ensure the skill and professionalism of trained outdoor educators. Accreditation provides a minimum number of content requirements, with the main focus around WEA’s six educational components. Accredited institutions provide educational opportunities for students and professionals seeking outdoor education certifications. Accreditation is a credential received by a program rather than by an individual.

Accredited Institutions complete a self-study curriculum that has been established and approved by the Commission on Outdoor Education and Leadership. The curriculum provides reviewers with sufficient documentation to assess a program's practices regarding administration, operation, instruction, curriculum design, assessment, and evaluation.


Accreditation for outdoor leadership training programs is based on the belief that programs receiving external review have on-going opportunities to improve and evaluate their program's curriculum and practices with the assistance of other highly-qualified industry professionals. The use of a common standard allows programs to ensure that their unique teaching and presentation of information still ultimately accomplishes the overall goal of providing professional-level education and training for outdoor leaders.

Accreditation creates a recognized standard of performance and training for all WEA-trained professionals across the country and world. These professionals deliver the standard quality of services, guidance, and education in the outdoor industry. Students and instructors benefit from the accreditation of curriculum through the high quality of teaching, research, and professionalism that comes from regular review and revision. The WEA Accreditation program encourages institutional freedom, improvement of education and training, and educational analysis and innovation.


Accredited Institutions may include academies for higher education, not-for-profit organizations, as well as for-profit organizations.

The following programs have been accredited by the Commission on Outdoor Education and Leadership.

Radford University 2011
Coalition for Christian Outreach 2013
Western Illinois University 2013
Ithaca College  2018
Baylor University Application on file
 *Organizations highlighted in bold have submitted self-studies that are currently in the review process.


Contact the WEA National Office to learn more about pursuing Accreditation or other questions about WEA Credentials.

The Accreditation Manual is currently undergoing revision. If interested contact the National Office.
Accreditation Manual