Brick-and-mortar and online colleges undergo strict accreditation standards from the U.S. Department of Education and the Higher Education Accreditation Council. Accreditation provides a stamp of approval that the college is providing the best education, and searching for an accredited college ranks high on any college checklist.
In detail, accreditation proves that each class, each grade, and the degree are worth more than a printed piece of paper. When you move to or come from another college, the credits easily transfer. Entering community college, a university, or graduate school requires credit from accredited colleges. In addition, colleges are eligible for federal, state, and employer financial aid. College credits from non-accredited colleges and universities depend highly on the college you plan to attend, and most colleges don't allow it.
Accreditation comes in national, regional, and specialized forms. Regional accreditation is the highest honor a college receives; it's accepted everywhere. There are six types of regional accreditation, and colleges can only receive one: the one connected to the state.
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
- Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges
National accreditation is second to regional accreditation. However, it's only for certain programs. Types of national accreditation include distance education, vocational/career colleges, and specialty schools (technology-only, business-only, engineering-only, arts-only, etc.). It is up to the college to determine whether the credit is transferable. Specialized accreditation comes from prominent organizations and associations in selected fields for college majors and programs. The main types come from majors in medicine, law, technology, engineering, accounting, and business. Without accreditation, it will prove difficult to gain a license or certification in professions that require accreditation. Search for accreditation on the Department of Education website.
It's important to find out whether the online college has accreditation. Any college can pretend to have one, but actually having one is another step entirely. Another reason accreditation is important relates to employment, many employers respect accredited degrees because they have merit. For more information on online colleges, contact us.
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