Why Should I Look for Colleges that Offer Accredited Degrees?

An educational institution that offers accredited degree programs gives the student the advantage of quality education and financial aid opportunities. Many employers require an employee to hold a degree from an accredited educational institution.

Accreditation Overview

Accreditation ensures that an institution of higher learning meets an acceptable level of quality in coursework. The program courses of a college or school must be recognized by accrediting agencies, which are private educational associations. Educational institutions are not accredited by the United States Department of Education (www.ed.gov); however, its website provides information about accrediting agencies.

Important Facts About Accredited Educational Institutions

Programs National and state accreditation helps to ensure high levels of quality in college programs.
Degree/Certificate Levels Accreditation applies to all degree levels on campus as well as distance and correspondence courses and programs.
Continuing Education Accreditation may also apply to continuing education training.
Certification and licensing Completion of an accredited program is usually required in professions that require licensing. Most organizations that issue professional certifications require completion of an accredited education program.

Accreditation Standards

Accrediting agencies develop specific criteria for assessing a college degree program. Accrediting agencies evaluate a college's curriculum to determine whether each specific criterion is met. If the college meets or surpasses the criteria of an accrediting association, the degree programs are then accredited by that agency. For example, the American Psychological Association (APA) accredits doctoral programs, internship programs, and postdoctoral residency programs. Programs must meet specific standards, outcomes, and quality measures in order to obtain and maintain accreditation, according to the APA (www.apa.org). This is so students of accredited programs have access to high quality programs that will prepare them for their professions.

Accredited Degree Programs' Benefits During College

By taking a college program that is accredited, a student ensures that the course is designed to meet his or her goals, and employers or other educational institutions recognize that college credit. If a student will require financial aid to pay for tuition and expenses, accreditation ensures that financial aid will be available. Colleges that are not accredited are not eligible to participate in government student assistance programs.

Accredited Degrees and Future Employment

Accreditation is important to the student not only for reasons of quality of education, but also because many employers require degrees from an accredited degree program for employment eligibility. An accredited degree program gives the prospective employer confidence that the applicant's education meets objective standards for curriculum and instruction.

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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