Why are the accreditation of an online school and taking accredited online programs so important for an online student or a distance learner? This page explains more about “accreditation” and its importance.
Increasingly, learners can get their online degrees and other qualifications from anywhere in the world. But care must be taken or else the quality of the education and qualification received will be worthless. To ensure quality, take an accredited online program from an accredited online school or university.
Accreditation is provided by governmental, nongovernmental and private agencies that usually report to departments or ministries of education. Accrediting bodies typically look at the qualifications of instructors, the school’s recruiting practices, admissions procedures, course content and quality, and equal opportunity employment. They regularly review the schools to make sure that their online programs meet minimum quality standards.
How can you find out about accredited online programs?
Enrolling in an accredited program at institution will affect at least three important things:
- Qualification for financial aid from your government or employer;
- Transferring credit to another institution, or advancing to another degree;
- Your qualifications and credibility to your employer.
Before you enroll in a program, be sure is it accredited by a real accrediting body (many diploma mills will claim to be accredited by a fake body). In the USA, make sure that it is accredited by
- One of the six regional accreditation boards; OR
- The Distance Education Training Council (DETC); OR
- If you are enrolling in an associate degree program, the school may be accredited by a career-focused accrediting association such as the Accreditation Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology. Check with licensing boards and professional associations under which the school claims to offer programs. Make sure that the association is acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education.
Note: Only accreditation by one of the six regional accreditation boards will guarantee transfer of credits from one program to another if you should choose to change school or to take another program.
List of schools and programs