Understanding accreditation is important in pursuing your online educational goals.
What is Accreditation?
Accreditation is the process whereby a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting body determines if a school, its admission process, curriculum, faculty, student support, and other resources meet certain standards. Should the institution meet the standards, the school receives accredited status.
The Importance of Understanding Accreditation
Understanding accreditation is important when considering an online degree or other distance learning opportunities. A diploma in and of itself does not guarantee the legitimacy of your degree. In fact, many institutions will provide you with a diploma for a small fee. These diploma mills sell pieces of paper that look and feel like diplomas, but are essentially worthless. These non-accredited institutions prey on people’s ignorance of accreditation and entice potential students into purchasing these so-called “degrees”. Don’t let this happen to you!
Being familiar with a school’s accreditation status is important. Courses and degree programs earned from non-accredited schools are typically not recognized by employers. Additionally, other schools will not recognize your degree or credits earned from non-accredited universities and colleges should you decide to transfer. Understanding accreditation will help you avoid these pitfalls.
How Do I Know Whether a Program is Accredited?
There are several ways to find out if your desired online degree program is accredited. In the United States, the Council for Higher Education. maintains a list of all recognized accrediting bodies. One way to verify the accreditation status of the school you are interested in is to visit the website of its accrediting organization.
It is also important to know the type of accreditation your school of choice has. One school may be accredited for one type of degree and not another. Be sure to verify that the school you wish to attend is accredited for the degree or course you need.
What Else Should I Know About Accreditation?
Does accreditation guarantee you a high quality education? No, accreditation simply means that the online institution is considered to have all the necessary tools and resources to provide you with the opportunity for a quality education. The actual achieving of the education falls, for the most part, on you. What you put into it is what you will get out of it!
Please note that not all non-accredited institutions are dishonest or illegal. There are several well-respected institutions (non-accredited) where you can learn important job skills, trade skills, and acquire other worthwhile training. For example, someone who seeks to learn typing skills will not need to seek out an accredited institution, whereas a student pursuing a law degree should.