No one wants to put in the blood, sweat and tears to get a college degree only to find out that it’s a worthless piece of paper. How do you make sure this doesn’t happen to you? During your search for an online degree program option that fits your schedule and needs, it is crucial to make sure that the school is accredited.
What is accreditation?
College accreditation is a formal recognition that a school or college – or a specific program it offers – meets certain standards, and that it provides a high quality education. Schools maintain their accreditation by adhering to set criteria that holds their programs up to a high standard of scrutiny. If the schools start to slack off, their accreditation can be revoked.
Who is in charge?
The most widely recognized type of accreditation in the United States is regional accreditation. There are six regions of the U.S. with an accreditation agency:
- The Middle States Association of Colleges & Schools
- The North Central Association of Colleges & Schools
- The New England Association of Schools & Colleges
- The Southern Association of Colleges & Schools
- The Northwest Association of Schools & Colleges
- The Western Association of Schools & Colleges
These associations independently review the schools in their respective areas, and award accreditation to the schools that meet their standards.
Why is it so important?
Without accreditation, a school is not eligible for government student assistant programs, which means you won’t be able to get any federal student aid or loans. Also, proper accreditation is important for the acceptance of transfer college credit, and an accredited degree is a necessary prerequisite for most graduate programs. Upon entering the workforce, an accredited degree on your resume will stand out more to employers than one of questionable integrity.
Furthering your education is an important step to furthering your career, so it’s important to be sure that your time and money are going towards an accredited degree program that will truly advance your future. To find out if the school you’re interested in is accredited, contact the school directly or visit the website of your regional accrediting agency.