Regionally Vs Nationally Accredited Schools: What's the Difference?

If you are searching for a college, you may be interested in learning about the different types of accreditation. A school's accreditation status can affect whether your course credits can be transferred from one school to another. Read on to learn about the differences between regionally and nationally accredited colleges.

Regional and National Accreditation Overview

If you're pursuing a college education, you may want to check the accreditation of your prospective schools. Accreditation is important because it provides you and other prospective students with an idea of the quality of the education provided. This is done by examining the educational institution via independent groups recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). Accreditation makes it possible for people, including employers, to know whether a degree or certificate program awarded by a college or university has officially met valid educational standards.

Although the federal government doesn't accredit individual schools, the DOE recognizes accrediting agencies and accredited schools. Private nonprofit accrediting agencies such as the Council for Higher Education Accreditation can accredit an entire school. This is referred to as institutional accreditation. Individual academic programs may also be accredited separately from their schools.

Some accrediting agencies are responsible for colleges within a region, while others confirm the quality of colleges nationwide. You'll find there are differences between regionally and nationally accredited colleges.

Important Facts About Accredited Institutions

Degree Levels Associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees available
Prerequisites Varies, 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
Fields of Study International business, English, mathematics, nursing, human services, geosciences, criminal justice, computer science, finance, fashion merchandising and management
Possible Careers Computer systems analyst, tax examiner, archivist, budget analyst, interior designer, art director, construction manager, editor

Regionally Accredited Colleges

Generally, you'll find that regionally accredited colleges are degree-granting nonprofit schools with an academic focus all located in a geographic area of the country. These include state schools, private colleges and universities and other nonprofit educational institutions.

Some regionally accredited colleges do not accept credit transferred from nationally accredited colleges because national accreditation is often associated with for-profit and vocationally focused schools. If you plan to transfer from a nationally accredited school to a regionally accredited one, be sure that the credits you earn will be accepted at that school.

Nationally Accredited Colleges

Nationally accredited schools tend to be for-profit, career-based colleges, distance learning schools and religiously affiliated institutions. While most regionally accredited colleges offer degree programs, some nationally accredited schools may only offer certificates.

It is important for you to know that the U.S. government is not involved in the accrediting of nationally accredited schools. Instead, this is a function reserved for specialized agencies. The government does, however, recognize many of these agencies and provides them with important resources and data.

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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