Your Accreditation Advocate
Furthering your education can be the key to success in an increasingly competitive job market, but finding the time to pursue this goal can present a significant challenge. However, with the growing popularity of online education there are many associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. programs flexible enough to fit into even the busiest of schedules. Still, while the opportunities these programs provide are exciting, we’ve found that it can become overwhelming to learn what factors distinguish a high-quality online degree program from lesser ones. Perhaps the first and most important item on your checklist should be accreditation.
Accreditation ensures that students are receiving an education from an institution whose facilities, faculty, and curriculum meet certain standards set by the accrediting body. There are different types of accreditation that a school can receive, including national, regional, or specialized accreditation. These all depend on where the school is located and what types of degree programs they offer. While accreditation is not required for a college to open their doors, we recommend that you look for a program that is accredited to ensure you are pursuing a sufficiently rigorous course of study that will provide you best possibly job opportunities once you graduate.
It is important to ensure you are making a wise investment no matter what school you choose, and doing your research ahead of time is essential to achieving the most positive experience, both during your time as a student and after you graduate. We seek to provide you with a central and comprehensive resource in your research, which is why we have created a database profiling more than 3,000 accredited online colleges to help you make an educated decision about your future. In addition, we provide a wide variety of articles to help you better understand exactly what accreditation is, how schools earn, maintain, or possibly lose accreditation, and what types of special accreditations certain fields of study fall under.
While the U.S. Department of Education is not directly responsible for accrediting institutions, they do provide information on all the approved national accrediting agencies. We recommend that you check their online database to verify that a school is properly accredited by a legitimate agency. Another great resource for verifying accreditation is the Council for Higher Education Accreditation database, also publicly accessible online.
As an online student, it is essential that you pursue your degree from a college that has accreditation credentials. By studying with an accredited college, you can be sure that the education you’ll receive is of a high quality. You will also have the assurance that your completed degree will be accepted and respected by educational institutions, employers, and more. These are the basics of college accreditation, but did you know that there are different types of accreditation? That’s right, there is regional accreditation, national accreditation, and even specialized accreditation. Read on, and you’ll learn more about what it means to be nationally accredited, and how you can do your research to find a nationally accredited online college.
The idea behind nationally accredited institutions is simple-any college with these credentials is accredited to grant degrees that are recognized in educational institutions nationwide. In order to become nationally accredited, schools are required to undergo a review by an accrediting agency. These agencies will assess the level of quality found in the school, taking a look at programs, learning tools, and methods of education. By doing so, they can ensure that any school they offer accreditation to will provide students with a good education. The accreditation process is the same for both regionally and nationally accredited college. Of course, regional accreditation is granted by regional accreditation agencies, and national accreditation is granted by national accreditation agencies.
Although online colleges are technically not in any particular place, they can be accredited based on the location where their administrative presence is based. There are both regionally and nationally accredited online colleges, however, online colleges are accredited by the same agencies and in the same process as traditional colleges are. With this in mind, you can be sure that any nationally accredited online college can offer you the same quality and promise of credential acceptance that you can find in a brick and mortar institution.
Regional and national accreditation is quite similar, but there are two important differences. First, a major consideration is price. Nationally accredited institutions tend to be more expensive than regionally accredited colleges. Often, regionally accredited colleges are state schools or community colleges, while nationally accredited institutions tend to be universities and larger schools. Second, nationally accredited colleges enjoy great freedom in the transfer of credits, while regional institutions have some restrictions. Nationally accredited schools will accept credits from both nationally and regionally accredited colleges, but regionally accredited institutions usually only honor transfers from regionally accredited schools. This is something to keep in mind if you may be transferring to a different institution.
As you are looking for a nationally accredited college, it’s important that you investigate whether or not your institution offers accredited degrees, and to verify that they have the proper accreditation credentials. You can research schools and accreditation agencies through the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Some relevant accreditation agencies you may want to research include the Distance Education and Training Council, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, and the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training.