What Does National Accreditation for a College Degree Program Mean?

National accreditation for a college degree program is important because it ensures high-quality education and training. It also ensures that programs are at least generally standardized. Many employers only hire college graduates who have completed accredited programs of study.

What Is National Accreditation?

In Europe the accreditation process is overseen by a governmental organization; however, in the United States the process is controlled by private membership organizations. There are five national main organizations that accredit for-profit technical and career colleges:

  • Council on Occupational Education (COE)
  • Distance Education and Training Council (DETC)
  • Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET)
  • Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS)
  • Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)

Regional accrediting organizations accredit public and private, not-for-profit institutions of higher learning. Some of these organizations include the Southern Associations of Colleges and Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

The primary difference between these two types of accrediting agencies is that regionally accredited not-for-profit schools often refuse to accept the transfer of credits received at a nationally accredited for-profit school.

Important Facts About Nationally Accredited College Programs

Degree Levels Associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees available
Prerequisites Vary, depending upon intended program of enrollment; a high school diploma, or equivalent, is typically required for enrollment in an associate's or bachelor's degree program
Concentrations Environmental science, data analytics, criminal justice, communication, business administration, anthropology, sociology, psychology, history
Possible Careers Operations research analyst, software developer, technical writer, camera operator, interior designer, engineer, nuclear technician, fashion designer

What Are the Benefits of College Degree Accreditation?

In addition to accreditation for schools, accreditation is also available at the degree level for some specific fields of study. College degree accreditation is beneficial because it ensures high levels of education in these specific disciplines. It also signals to prospective employers that graduates of degree programs have met the standards set forth by an accrediting organization, which is often preferred by professional organizations or for state licensure. College degree programs that are often independently accredited include education, nursing, business and engineering.

The Council for Higher Education recognizes accreditation organizations for specific college degree programs. They include ABET (formerly the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology), the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Community college degree programs approved by the Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) are guaranteed credit transfer to accredited 4-year universities.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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