Regionally Accredited Online Colleges

Today more than ever, it is important you ensure that your institution of higher learning — whether online or campus-based — is accredited. It can mean the difference between continuing your education, and having to start all over. By checking your school's accreditation up front, you will avoid finding out later that your credits may not transfer to another institution, or that your employer does not recognize your degree.

TYPES OF ACCREDITATION

There are actually two types of accreditation: institutional and specialized. Institutional accreditation makes sure the college itself meets certain standards, while specialized accreditation makes sure a specific program meets its particular industry's standards.

Accreditation is further broken down into national and regional types. National accreditation is typically used by colleges looking to get their students started in careers as soon as possible. These include technical, vocational, correspondence, and religious schools. National accreditation transfer credits are not widely recognized by regionally accredited colleges and universities.

Regional accreditation, on the other hand, is the standard recognized by most traditional colleges and universities, and is therefore more widely accepted. Both national and regional accreditation is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, but regional accreditation makes it easier to transfer college credits to other regionally accredited institutions.

WHY IS ACCREDITATION IMPORTANT?

According to the US Department of Education, college accreditation is used by both students and universities to:

  • verify that a college or university meets established standards.
  • help students identify acceptable colleges or universities.
  • help colleges and universities determine the acceptability of transfer credits.
  • establish goals to raise the standards among educational institutions.
  • establish criteria for professional certification and licensure and for upgrading courses offering such preparation.
  • establish a basis and criteria for receiving federal financial assistance and student aid.

You can check your school's accreditation by visiting the following:

To check distance learning accreditation, visit:

Beware of these phrases when considering a school's accreditation:

  • "Pursuing Accreditation"
  • "Chartered"
  • "Licensed"
  • "Registered"
  • "Recognized"
  • "Approved"

These terms do not necessarily mean a school is accredited. To verify regional accreditation of a school, visit the Council for Higher Edcuation Accreditation.