Accreditation is an important factor when it comes to regular on-campus education and online education. It gives a review of programs to regulate the education on the basis of discipline and quality.
With regards to online education, accreditation is very important as it maintains a public record of the online education which is accepted by other universities, employers and professionals. When providing accreditation, a non-government body reviews the educational institute by paying a visit to the campus to access the faculty, student services, facilities and infrastructure, curriculum, finances, and various other supporting factors. There are many accreditation boards that accredit programs like online engineering degree which provide accreditation with high-quality preset standards. The boards are recognized by the United States Department of Education (USDE). These boards exist to ensure the quality and standard of education provided all across the United States of America.
When it comes to accreditation, online, hybrid and on-campus courses can be accredited. There are a few types of accreditations which are listed below:
- Regional accreditation: This is most widely recognized type of accreditation. This type of accreditation is a university level accreditation. Few university that regionally accredited are Stanford University, Ohio University, etc. The United States can be divided into six regions and each region has an accrediting board. Here are the regionally accrediting boards; Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA), Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NASC), North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA), New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), and Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). There is no hierarchy in these regional accrediting boards. Universities and colleges like online engineering colleges that are regionally accredited accept degree and credits from regionally accredited institutes.
- National accreditation: This the second most recognized type of accreditation. Again, this is a university level accreditation. The most common national accreditation is Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). Few particular programs are accredited by special accrediting board. For instance, teaching licensing programs are accredited by National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), state bar or lawyer licensing programs are accredited by American Bar Association (ABA), and engineering programs are accredited by Accrediting Board for Engineering Technology (ABET). When it comes to national accreditation there are a few limitations. Among these specialised accrediting boards, Association to Advance Collegiate Schools Business International (AACSB) which is considered to be the most prestigious accrediting board for business programs. Most of the institutes are accredited by regional accreditation. And these educational institutes which are accredited by national accreditation do not accept degrees and credits from regionally accredited institutes.
There are many fake accreditations or unrecognized online and on-campus institutes. To make sure the educational institute that you have selected has appropriate accreditation check with the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and U.S. Department of Education (USDE).
Recognition from these organizations mean that the institute is has appropriate accreditation. With increase in online education, there are many online programs which claim to have rightful accreditation from a leading accrediting board. This has to be double checked which can be done on the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and U.S. Department of Education (USDE)’s official website. Gaining a degree from an educational institute without accreditation recognition or fake accreditation can lead to many complications like degree not recognized by higher education institutes, employers, and professionals.
There is a new wave of state-approved universities which is causing confusion among aspiring students as to whether these state-approved institutes are accredited. A state approval is a permission by the state to do business this has nothing to do with accreditation. Hence, when a university says it is state approved it unaccredited. Also, accreditation is important when it comes to financial aid. Accredited universities usually provide students with grants scholarships and federal aid.
These institutes are usually well-recognized institutes which provide programs and course with a solid curriculum, financial aid, transfer credits and a recognized degree. Online education is already not well accepted by employers and for higher education so when if your degree if from an accredited institute then the degree is valued otherwise it is not recognized by employers and higher education institutes. Make sure to research on accreditation of the institute and program before applying to enroll for an online or on-campus program.