Accreditation and program approval focus on an ongoing improvement process for schools, school districts, and practitioner preparation programs. General accreditation standards, Iowa Administrative Code 281-12, are the minimum requirements that must be met by an Iowa public school district to be accredited.

A nonpublic school must meet the general accreditation standards if it wishes to be designated as accredited for operation in Iowa. All Iowa colleges and universities or organizations engaged in the preparation of practitioners or administrators and seeking State Board approval of their program shall meet the Standards for Practitioner and Administrator Preparation Programs contained in Iowa Administrative Code 281-79.