Accreditation for Online Education

Saturday, July 14, 2012
There is no way to express the importance of accreditation for online education. When a school is accredited, that means it has been recognized by an accrediting institution (which itself is recognized by the United States Department of Education) based on a specific set of criteria. With peer reviews and professional qualifications, these accrediting bodies determine the legitimacy of online schools based on factors such as curriculum, admission requirements, faculty, mission, school resources and much more. Why You Should Care About Accreditation for Your Online Education Schools are not required to be accredited, and accrediting agencies are typically private organizations. So why should you care about the accreditation of your online education program? Well, there are several reasons, which will be explained further below. Employers care. The fact that your education might not qualify you for any good jobs should make you stop and listen. If you get a degree or certificate from an online school that isn’t accredited, chances are that most potential employers you apply to work for will not find your education sufficient. Unfortunately, some employers might also question the validity of an online degree, but with accreditation, there is legitimate proof that your learning experience was just as valid as someone who attended classes on a campus.

Schools care If you are ever going to continue your education or you think that you could possibly switch schools at some point in the future, you definitely want to make sure the online school you’re going to now is accredited. The credits earned from an unaccredited school will more than likely not transfer to any other legitimate educational institution. The U.S. Department of Education cares. Like many college students, you probably plan on filling out a FAFSA and applying for federal student aid, ranging from grants and scholarships to subsidized loans and work study programs. You won’t be able to qualify for any of these financial aid options, however, if you are attending an unaccredited online school. So how do you check the accreditation for online education? It shouldn’t be too hard—just don’t believe every claim you hear. The accrediting agency of the school should be listed on their website in a location that is easy to find. From there, you can go to the U.S. Department of Education website to make sure they recognize that accrediting agency.

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