ACICS History

In 1912, at the start of this organization, the principal goal was “to establish and advance the quality of education and the standards of excellence at private career schools and colleges.” Today, we are proud to say those words remain the goal and the focus of ACICS.

In December 1912, Benjamin Franklin Williams, president of the Capital City Commercial College of Des Moines, requested the presence of 22 private career school administrators at a hotel in Chicago. Benjamin had the idea of forming an organization for private career schools. On the evening of December 12, the National Association of Accredited Commercial Schools (NAACS) was formed. The original mission of the NAACS was “to develop and maintain higher educational, business, and ethical standards in commercial education and insofar as may be legal, proper, and desirable to protect the interest and enlarge the usefulness of member schools.” Ben Williams was elected President, a post he would hold with grace and strength for the next 25 years.

The first 25 years were relatively successful for the NAACS. W.N. Watson, chairman of the Membership Committee, helped develop an application that the proprietor of each member school was required to submit, along with recommendations from other businesses and schools in their community. An Educational Committee created models of typing, shorthand, and bookkeeping programs. This committee also served as the liaison for the North Central Association and the U.S. Bureau of Education. Another important committee, the Vigilance Committee ensured that member schools complied with ethics codes, as well as business practices and educational policies. For many years, the officers and member schools worked in harmony, with physical headquarters or full-time staff.

On May 25, 1917, the NAACS became legally incorporated in D.C. They also started the Accredited School’s Supply Company. It was developed as a cost effective way to provide books and other supplies for member schools.

In 1920, the NAACS developed a code of ethics and educational policies that all members were required to comply with.

  • Employ and maintain good teachers, suitable facilities, and equipment for your operation.
  • Pay all debts in a timely manner
  • Behave honorably in all dealings with the students
  • Avoid exaggeration in any and all advertising
  • Make no misleading statements about the quality of your institution
  • Cultivate good moral standards
  • Refuse to guarantee jobs, and refrain from getting involved in any activity that may convey your willingness to guarantee job placement.
  • Report any violation of the ethics to the NAACS
  • Submit all disagreements to the Board of Arbitrators to be resolved.