How to find the accredited online university program you need

Posted by nick_niesen on October 27th, 2010

With countless online university offers fighting for your attention online, one of your first priorities in finding a university is to verify its credentials. Accreditation can make all the difference in the quality of the education being offered. It isn?t enough that a university is accredited. Find out more details about the accreditation. It should be legitimate and have recognition from the US Department of Education or the Council for Higher Accreditation.


What Is Accreditation

The US Department of Education has identified key points in ensuring the accreditation of an online university. Firstly, the institution needs to be able to meet established standards. They should also offer assistance to students in identifying the right colleges and finding out the details of transfer credits. The college should have set goals for self-improvement and increasing educational standards. Faculty and staff needs to be involved in institutional evaluation and planning. Criteria should be in place for availing federal financial assistance.


Accreditation is defined as a voluntary, non-governmental process of peer review by which an institution meets specific standards. However in layman?s language, it is more practical to think of it as the difference between a degree and the job that you?ve been striving for, and a waste of time, energy and money into a course that will eventually prove worthless.


Today?s employers are already pressed for time. This means they can spare very little of it in verifying the qualifications of a potential candidate. Therefore they find it much simpler and more practical to only consider applicants qualifying from an accredited institution whose standards they deem acceptable.


Types of Accreditation

Accreditation of a college can itself be of two types, institutional and specialized accreditation. The former applies to the institution as a whole to ensure that it is able to conform to certain set standards. In specialized accreditation, it is only a particular program that is involved for being able to meet specific industry standards.


Institutional accreditation is again of two types, national and regional. National accreditation transfer credits are not easily accepted by colleges and universities as it implies inability to meet criteria for regional accreditation. National accreditation is primarily limited to institutes that prepare students to join the workforce at the earliest. They include religious schools, technical institutes, vocational and correspondence schools.


On the other hand regional accreditation is recognized not just by the US Department of Education but is also considered the standard for other colleges and universities. Transferring college credits becomes a lot easier as the college meets the necessary standards with a combination of theory and practical experience. In certain cases like engineering, law, medicine, science and teaching, the degree needs to be both institutionalized and specialized in accreditation.

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