If you want to pursue online studies, it is a must to choose from nationally accredited online colleges. If you study in an accredited online college, you can make sure that you will get a high-quality education. You can also be assured that the degree you will earn will be acknowledged by employers and educational institutions.
The following are the agencies that grant accreditation to online colleges:
Regional Accreditation Organizations
These agencies grant the most highly recognized accreditation for universities and colleges. They are non-profit commissions that certify the quality of academically-oriented schools. Their goal is to establish the standards for post-secondary learning and validate educational institutions against such standards. These agencies are acknowledged by the Secretary of Education as well as the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or CHEA.
Unlike specialized accrediting organizations, these agencies accredit schools as a whole and not just particular programs offered in the school. The six regional accreditation agencies are the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges, New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, and Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
National Accreditation Organizations
They accredit post-secondary schools all over the U.S. and are acknowledged by the Secretary of Education as trustworthy authorities. Nationally accredited online colleges are career-oriented and not academically-oriented. In other instances, nationally accredited online colleges get a national as well as a regional accreditation if they offer both academic and career programs.
Some national accreditation agencies are the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training, Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, Council on Occupational Education and the Distance Education and Training Council.
Programmatic Accreditation Organizations
These agencies, also called specialized agencies, grant accreditation to post-secondary programs in the USA. Some agencies in this category can give accreditation to an entire educational institution if it only teaches the subject-matter that is within the agency’s scope. Every agency has a particular kind of program that they accredit. They are also recognized by the CHEA and the Secretary of Education as reliable authorities on granting program accreditation.
Programmatic accrediting organizations specialize in a specific area of study. Thus, they are able to evaluate a program against specific standards that are pertinent to the field of study. For careers or professions that require a license like lawyer, teacher, doctor, nurse, etc., the school is required to have accreditation by the appropriate programmatic accreditation agency. Some examples of these agencies are the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, American Bar Association, Liaison Committee on Medical Education, Council on Education for Public Health, The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, and American Dental Association.
Aside from knowing these accreditation agencies, it is also important to ensure that the accredited online college you choose meets your own quality standards. You need to familiarize yourself with the students’ experiences, learning outcomes, and general insights of these nationally accredited online colleges.