What is accreditation and how does it affect my online education?
Accreditation is an evaluative process colleges, universities, or schools may choose to go through that compares their college to already established standards. It is a voluntary review the college or university undergoes, conducted by a non-governmental group. The agency conducting the review looks at the school from top to bottom: its admissions requirements, services offered, its resources, its degree programs, etc. The college's accreditation is then periodically reevaluated to make sure it continues to hold up to the established standards. It is possible for an accredited college to lose its accreditation if the reviewing agency believes it no longer maintains the established standards.
So what does all of this mean to me?
In the workforce, more and more employers are looking for an education from an accredited college. If you attend an accredited online college, you can be sure you will receive a level of education that meets or exceeds the established standards for education. The courses you take and degree you earn from an accredited university or college is generally more acceptable for transfer to other schools should you decide to pursue further education in the future.
Can I still receive a quality education from a non-accredited school?
Yes. A number of educational institutions have legitimate reasons for not seeking accreditation. Colleges or schools focusing on training programs may choose not to seek accreditation but still offer widely accepted certification. Their reputation and curriculum may be deemed superior by the community as well as the workforce. In the end you must decide the value of the education the schools is willing to provide you and the benefits you will receive from it's program.
What are accredited online degree programs?
Accreditation is granted to the college, university, or school, not the actual degree program. Therefore, any online degree programs offered at an accredited college, accredited university, or accredited school is an accredited online degree program.
How can I tell if my higher educational facility is accredited?
There are a number of resources available to you online that address accreditation including, but not limited to, The Council for Higher Education Accreditation.