What Does IT Mean for Online Colleges to Be Nationally Accredited?
A school's accreditation provides assurance to prospective students that its programs meet quality educational standards. If you're considering an online college, read on for information about national accreditation for online schools.
In the United States, school accreditation is determined by private non-profit agencies. These accrediting agencies measure a school's academic programs and faculty against established standards, and if a school meets such standards, it's granted accreditation. Although the federal government doesn't accredit institutions, the U.S. Department of Education evaluates and approves both national and regional accrediting agencies. Also, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation recognizes accrediting agencies that have met high quality standards.
Important Facts About Online Colleges
|Degree Levels||Associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees available|
|Prerequisites||Vary, depending upon institution; associate's and bachelor's degree programs typically require a high school diploma, or equivalent|
|Concentrations||Psychology, English, political science, business administration, history, graphic design, criminal justice, data analytics, communication|
|Possible Careers||Air traffic controller, nuclear technician, commercial diver, teacher, financial analyst, software developer, technical writer, camera operator|
Schools and academic programs can be regionally or nationally accredited. National accreditation is granted by agencies with the authority to accredit schools anywhere across the United States. These institutions are often single-purpose schools with specialized, career-based programs. This is in contrast to regional accreditation, which is granted by regional agencies that only accredit schools in specific geographical regions of the United States. Institutional accreditation signifies that the entire school is accredited, whereas programmatic accreditation means that only certain programs within a school are accredited by an agency.
When an online college is nationally accredited, it has been evaluated by a national accrediting agency. Some online schools may be both regionally and nationally accredited, depending on their programs of study. The Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) is a nationally recognized agency that accredits distance education programs specifically; this accreditation may include all-online schools. You can also research the accreditation status of any program and school via the U.S. Department of Education website.
Transferring from an Online College
If you want to transfer from your online school to another school, check to make sure your credits will transfer. Many regionally accredited schools won't accept transfer credits from nationally accredited schools. This means that if you take courses from a nationally accredited online school, you may not be able to transfer credits into an academic program from a regionally accredited brick-and-mortar institution. If you plan on completing courses at a nationally accredited online college and want to transfer to another university, check to see both schools' policies on transferring credits before enrolling in online courses.