Foundations of Accessibility Certificate Program

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Establish a strong foundation in the physical and programmatic components of accessibility compliance. This certificate program explores disability and accessibility as a social construct and provides knowledge in disability awareness concepts, program access, universal design, and guidelines and standards for accessible design.


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The Foundations of Accessibility Certificate is entirely web-based and consists of four course units each culminating with an applied assignment that relates to your community, organization, or agency. This course of study provides you with the opportunity to receive individualized feedback from knowledgeable instructors who review the elements of your portfolio.

Upon successful completion, you will receive a certificate issued by the Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands, Indiana University.

Cohort Option: Three cohorts are available each year. The first cohort begins in February and ends in May. The second cohort begins in June and ends in September. The third cohort begins in October and ends in January. Register for the cohort that best fits your schedule. Individual Option: The individual option for the Certificate Program is currently accepting students.

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Course Schedule

Students have the option to complete the certificate as a cohort or as an individual.

Cohort Option

The cohort option is recommended for people who enjoy interactive, online learning and have the ability to complete the series within 3-4 months. The cohort option includes discussion forums and assignment deadlines.

Individual Option

The individual option is recommended for people who work alone and prefer working at their own pace. Participants are required to complete the program 12 months from registration. The Eppley Institute recommends that you complete one course and all companion assignments each month to ensure maximum retention and connection of material.

Each course is self-paced and allows for complete flexibility. You may take a couple of months or up to a year to complete the program. The Eppley Institute recommends that you complete one course and all companion assignments each month to ensure maximum retention and connection of material.

Course Progression:

  • Unit 1: Foundations of Accessibility Micro-learning Series
    • Historical Perceptions of Disability
    • Disability Etiquette and Interaction Guidelines
    • Accessibility vs. Usability
    • Regulations for Service Animals and Mobility Devices
  • Unit 2: Foundations of Accessible Recreation: Program Access
  • Unit 3: Universal Design in Park and Recreation Environments
  • Unit 4: Navigating the Standards for Accessible Design

The certificate program includes the following elements:

  • Four self-paced, self-study micro-learning e-courses
  • Three self-paced, self-study e-courses
  • Companion assignments, which allow you to apply what you have learned in the courses and are reviewed by course instructors, with substantive feedback provided.
  • A Virtual Classroom site for storage of work and feedback
  • Interactive activities
  • "Learn More" opportunities
  • Engaging videos
  • Supplemental reference materials
  • Informal assessment quizzes
  • Final assessments

Following each course, you will complete an assessment which requires you to demonstrate your understanding of key course concepts. You will also complete assignments that will be reviewed by qualified instructors. Upon successful completion of the assessments and assignments, you will be awarded a certificate of completion, which will be mailed to the address you provide.

Be able to:

  • Define both disability and accessibility.
  • Describe how these concepts relate to visitor engagement.
  • Recognize the cross-disciplinary nature of providing equal access to and use of all areas, facilities, programs, and services in parks, recreation, and public lands by visitors with disabilities.
  • Identify the legislation, regulations, and policies related to physical, electronic, and program accessibility.
  • Apply standards and guidelines for physical accessibility in the planning, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and repair of visitor facilities in ways that balance the need for accessible visitor experiences with the protection of natural and cultural resources.
  • Apply standards and guidelines for program accessibility in the development and implementation of visitor activities, programs, materials, and services in ways that balance the need for accessible visitor experiences with the protection of natural and cultural resources.
  • Develop and implement formal and informal evaluation methods to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations for both physical and program accessibility.

Recommended Background

Foundations of Accessibility is intended for those who are new to the park and recreation profession or those who would like to refresh or bolster their existing knowledge of foundational accessibility concepts.


Aside from an internet connection, what resources will I need for the course?

No additional resources are required for this course.

Will I get a certificate after completing the course?

Yes! All courses include a final assessment to evaluate your understanding of key course concepts. A certificate of completion will be offered to you if you complete the assessment with a score of 80% or higher. You will earn a certificate of completion for a certificate program after completing all program assignments and the assessments with a score of 80% or higher.

Why should I take this course?

Each Eppley e-course is designed collaboratively among experienced instructional designers, subject matter experts, and our partner organizations and institutions. The course curriculum includes current information and best practices in the field and is recognized by national leaders in parks, recreation, and land management. Not only will this course benefit your career by expanding your knowledge base, but it will also enhance your application and problem-solving skills.

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