What To Look For In Online Bachelor Degree Accreditation

Written by Chloe Harwood

In today’s world where some potential college students hold down full time employment and are saddled with numerous other responsibilities that do not enable them to attend a college or university, or for whom doing so would exceed their financial capabilities, the option of attaining an online bachelors degree exists. The following is a brief article discussing how a student can find out if a particular academic institution has received the necessary accreditations and other pertinent information about the accreditation process.

What Does Accreditation Mean?

In the United States, an online college and/or university receives accreditation when that particular institution of higher learning receives such designation from agencies like the Council For Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or the Distance Education Training Council, as well as other private educational monitoring organizations. When CHEA grants a school accreditation, it means the institution meets certain specific criteria, including but not limited to its placing standards on students and faculty and that it houses a number of academic facilities like classrooms and libraries.

What Types Of Accreditation Exist?

Institutions are designated as either regionally or nationally accredited. Schools given national accreditation are mainly labeled “for profit” institutions and might offer certifications from vocational or technical programs. Typically, colleges and/or universities are labeled “non-profit,” award degrees like the associate and bachelor’s variety and place a greater emphasis on pure academics.

How Can A Student Learn If A School Is Appropriately Accredited?

A prospective student preparing to apply to or enroll in an online academic degree program has numerous resources at his or her disposal. One may begin their search by visiting the Database Of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs, which is overseen by the United States Department of Education. Regional accreditation boards can also provide useful information. These geographically based agencies are the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, the Northwest Commission On Colleges and Universities, the North central Association of Colleges and Schools, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, the Southern Association of Colleges and School and the Western Association of Colleges and Schools.

Why Is Accreditation So Important?

Accreditation is crucial both in terms of a prospective student’s academic life and, quite possibly, his or her professional career as well. Students graduating with degrees from an accredited online institution of higher learning will be able to transfer credits from one academic setting to another if they need to change venues, enable students to gain eligibility to earn financial aid, qualify students to take certain certification tests in degree programs which require them, prepare students to take licensure exams in professions that require a license to practice it and even to seek employment. Some employers will not hire students possessing degrees bestowed by unaccredited institutions.

Watch Out For Unaccredited Schools

Non-accredited educational institutions are commonly referred to as “diploma mills.” These “schools” scam prospective students out of their money. Students can sniff out these shady operations by watching out for certain red flag signs. These include that the institution received accreditation from an agency not named CHEA or other recognized academic watchdog organizations, a student can receive a degree based upon their work experience, the student is promised a degree within a specific period of time (typically 30 days) and the school has been the subject of numerous complaints or possible investigation.

About the author

Chloe Harwood