Faculty Credential Guidelines

SACSCOC’s Comprehensive Standard 3.7.1 of the Principles of Accreditation reads as follows:  

The institution employs competent faculty members qualified to accomplish the mission and goals of the institution. When determining acceptable qualifications of its faculty, an institution gives primary consideration to the highest earned degree in the discipline. The institution also considers competence, effectiveness, and capacity, including, as appropriate, undergraduate and graduate degrees, related work experiences in the field, professional licensure and certifications, honors and awards, continuous documented excellence in teaching, or other demonstrated competencies and achievements that contribute to effective teaching and student learning outcomes. For all cases, the institution is responsible for justifying and documenting the qualifications of its faculty. 

When an institution defines faculty qualifications using faculty credentials, institutions should use the following as credential guidelines: 

  • Faculty teaching general education courses at the undergraduate level: doctorate or master’s degree in the teaching discipline or master’s degree with a concentration in the teaching discipline (a minimum of 18 graduate semester hours in the teaching discipline).  
  • Faculty teaching associate degree courses designed for transfer to a baccalaureate degree: doctorate or master’s degree in the teaching discipline or master’s degree with a concentration in the teaching discipline (minimum of 18 graduate semester hours in the teaching discipline). 
  • Faculty teaching associate degree courses not designed for transfer to the baccalaureate degree: bachelor’s degree in teaching discipline or associate’s degree and demonstrated competencies in the teaching discipline. 

Additional Discipline-Specific Guidelines  

  • Technical Programs—Minimum of an associate’s degree with five years' work experience preferred.
  • Business/Office Administration Technology—Master’s degree in business or related field or a bachelor’s degree in field with professional certification and two to five years' professional work experience.
  • Learning Support Math, Reading, and Writing—Minimum is a bachelor’s degree in the specified discipline or related field.