Irvine-based West Coast University has won an initial five-year accreditation from Western Association of Schools and Colleges, one of six regional accrediting associations.

The association serves schools in locales including California, Hawaii and Guam.

The accreditation process is ongoing. West Coast must submit an interim report to the association in fall 2014, and an on-site review is expected in spring 2017.

West Coast focuses on healthcare education and offers programs in nursing, healthcare management and dental hygiene at its Anaheim, Los Angeles and Ontario campuses. Its Anaheim facility features a large dental clinic, while its Irvine offices are for administrative operations only.

The school plans to open a new campus in Dallas next year, with a primary focus on nursing.

West Coast’s WASC accreditation follows a two-year process in which the association reviewed the school’s institutional and financial integrity, sustainability, faculty and program standards. The school’s bachelor nursing programs also are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and its dental hygiene program by the Commission on Dental Accreditation.