dcsimg



Schools in the USA

Online College Accreditation

Legitimacy is one of the main issues you need to face when it comes to online colleges. Accreditation is one way to ensure you aren't getting involved with a scam, a fly-by-night operation or a diploma mill whose credential will be meaningless to potential employers.

Accreditation is a form of independent, professional certification that focuses on schools and programs in a particular field. Accreditation of online colleges therefore assures you and your parents that the institution adheres to high quality standards. Which means the programs are delivered by qualified faculty and are constantly updated to follow the changes and meet the needs of the relevant industry or working world. A degree or other credential from an accredited institution or program can help make you more competitive on the job market.

Accreditation in the US takes place at different levels. At the highest level, the US Department of Education, the Council for Higher Education Association (CHEA) and the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors (ASPA) grant power to associations that oversee accreditation at the regional, institutional or program level.

  • Regional: The US Department of Education recognizes 6 distinct higher educational regions, each of which is overseen by a different accrediting body. This is the type of accreditation most commonly referred to and is for an institution as a whole, not for individual programs. Accreditation by these regional agencies isn't automatic: this is voluntary accreditation.


  • Institutional: Depending on the kind of online college it is (e.g., private, public, community, career, Christian, etc.) it may also be accredited by institute-type specific agencies. America's colleges, even online colleges, are extremely different in character and in the programs they offer. Therefore a school may be accredited by one or more organizations.


  • Specialized: Specialized accreditation focuses on specific areas of study and individual programs. This is sometimes called professional accreditation, because it means specific programs meet the national standards for that field of study. Online colleges cover a wide range of programs, and each institution usually has a page on its website listing both institutional and individual program accreditation.

    Therefore, when assessing the quality of an online college, you should look for both national and regional accreditation approved by the US Department of Education. Unfortunately, some online colleges will say they are accredited by agencies that are in fact fake, in order to create an appearance of legitimacy. In some states, it can actually be illegal to use a degree from an institution that isn't accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency. If an institution says it's accredited, that's not good enough: you need to check up on the accrediting agency. As well, if the online college offers degrees, it should have been granted the authorization to award degrees by its State government.

    You can also look at whether a school or program has any memberships in, or endorsements by, professional associations which reflect certain standards of quality. For instance, the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) is a national organization committed to maintaining and promoting the quality of America's online higher education institutions.

    Recognized Regional Accrediting Agencies
  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Higher Education

  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education

  • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission

  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities


  • Institutional Accrediting Agencies Relevant to Online Colleges
    Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC)
    Established: 1955
    Location: Washington, DC
    Web: www.detc.org
    Scope: Accreditation of both public and private institutions offering degree and non-degree distance and online education nationally and internationally.

    Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS)
    Established: 1956
    Location: Washington, DC
    Web: www.acics.org
    Scope: Accreditation of US private postsecondary institutions offering certificates, diplomas, associate's, bachelor's, or master's degrees in professional, technical, or occupational programs including distance or online education.

    Some Program-Specific Accrediting Agencies
    Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET): Accredits university and college programs in engineering, applied science, computing and technology in the United States.

    The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP): Accredits bachelor's and associate's degrees in 20 health sciences occupations, such as cardiovascular technologist, medical sonographer, emergency medical technician/ paramedic, medical assistant, surgical technologist, respiratory therapist and more

    Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE): CCNE ensures the quality and integrity of baccalaureate and graduate education programs in preparing effective nurses.
     



    Featured Schools

    Matching School Ads
    Syracuse University Cyber Security

    Established in 1901, the College of Engineering and Computer Science has built a vibrant community of leaders with a reputation for responsiveness in meeting regional, national, and global needs.

    Programs Offered:
    • Master of Science in Cybersecurity

     
    Syracuse University Computer Science

    Established in 1901, the College of Engineering and Computer Science has built a vibrant community of leaders with a reputation for responsiveness in meeting regional, national, and global needs.

    Programs Offered:
    • MS in Computer Science

     
    Syracuse University Computer Engineering

    Established in 1901, the College of Engineering and Computer Science has built a vibrant community of leaders with a reputation for responsiveness in meeting regional, national, and global needs.

    Programs Offered:
    • Master of Science in Computer Engineering

     
    Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University

    Located in the heart of Washington, D.C. the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University is dedicated to advancing the health of local, national and global communities.

    You need to have a Bachelor’s degree to be qualified for this school.

    Programs Offered:
    • Executive Master of Health Administration
    • Master of Public Health

     
    Nursing@USC
    Programs Offered:
    • Master of Science in Nursing for Aspiring Family Nurse Practitioners

     
    New York University Speech Pathology

    Coming soon

    Programs Offered:
    • Master of Science in Communicative Sciences and Disorders

     
    Penn Foster Schools
    Advance your career with our affordable, self-paced, career-focused distance education programs.
    Programs Offered:
    • Bookkeeping
    • Veterinary Assistant
    • HVACR Technician
    • And more...

     
    Stratford Career Institute
    Earn Your Diploma from Home!
    Programs Offered:
    • Drug & Alcohol Treatment Specialist
    • Funeral Service Education
    • French as a Second Language
    • And more...

     
    Syracuse Communications

    Communications@Syracuse is an online Master of Science in Communications from the world-renowned S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.
     

    Programs Offered:
    • Master of Science in Communications

     
    Simmons College Master of Public Health

    Simmons’ online Master of Public Health program, MPH@Simmons, is designed to give you the real-world skills you need to address health inequity on a local, national, and global scale. The MPH@Simmons program explores the core areas of public health: epidemiology, biostatistics, health policy and health services, environmental health, and social/behavioral health. Additionally, the practice-based curriculum incorporates courses specifically designed to help you develop leadership and advocacy skills.

    Programs Offered:
    • Master of Public Health

     
    Matching School Ads
      Universities and Colleges
    Clarkson UniversityColorado School of MinesDalhousie University
    Oral Roberts UniversityPenn State HarrisburgTemple University
    The University of HoustonThompson Rivers UniversityUNB Saint John
    University of AlabamaUniversity of ArkansasUniversity of British Columbia
    University of IowaUniversity of New BrunswickUniversity of Oregon
    University of OttawaYork University
    Agriculture and Bio-resources | Allied Health and Health Sciences | Applied Business Technology | Architecture
    Business Administration | Computer Science | Cosmetology and Esthetics | Culinary, Travel &Hospitality | Dance 
    Engineering Technology & Applied Technology |Engineering | Film | Fine Arts and Design | Humanities and Liberal ArtsJustice and Security
    Music
    | Natural and Applied Sciences | Naturopathic and Holistic MedicineNursingPublic Administration & PolicyReligious and Theological Studies
    Sport Sciences and Physical Education | Teacher Education | Theatre
    Articles | College News | Videos | Feedback | Career Search
    Home | About Us | Contact Us | Faq | Terms of Use | Policy Statement | Site Map | Cities Site Map

    Copyright 2003- 2017 QuinStreet, Inc. All Rights Reserved.