Accreditation Facts for Online Education

One of the most important aspects of deciding to go to college at home is making sure your prospective school has been accredited. It's something that a lot of students who attend more traditional colleges or universities don't often think about, but the booming online education industry has found itself dealing with disreputable pseudo-schools trying to operate alongside legitimate universities. In order to avoid these fly-by-night diploma mills and get a good education, not to mention a rewarding job, you need to get the facts about accreditation.

There are a variety of accrediting agencies operating today on both the regional and national levels, and they've been set up to examine colleges and determine their academic strength. To see if your online school has been accredited, check the online databases at the U.S. Department of Education and the non-governmental Council for Higher Education Accreditation, which are both vital tools in the school-selection process and will help you learn whether your university meets the high standards required by accrediting agencies. Remember, employers only trust degrees from accredited colleges and universities, so to ensure your online education leads to a good job after graduation, it's imperative that your school be accredited. These databases also allow you to search by accrediting agency, so you'll know if the school's purported accreditation is from a legitimate group or a questionable phony.

Another important thing to note is whether the accrediting agency that's checked out your school is a national or regional agency. Both types of accreditation are perfectly valid, and there are pros and cons to both methods. But the key difference between them is the ability to transfer credits. Course credit earned at a regionally accredited college or university typically can be transferred to a nationally accredited school, but it's often difficult to make the transfer go the other way. So if you think you might want to change schools before completing your online education, you might want to examine a regionally accredited school, though again, both are academically qualified institutions.

You should also be aware that certain professions require students to graduate from schools that have been specially accredited by groups recognized by professional organizations. For instance, becoming a licensed teacher often means attending an online school that's been accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Similarly, if you want to become a medical assistant, you'll need to attend a school that's been approved by a pair of special accrediting agencies focusing on schools that offer this degree. Once you decide what you want to study, check to see if you'll need to attend a school with specially focused accreditation.

Going to college at home is a great educational choice for a growing number of students, but before you enroll, don't forget to follow these steps and get all the facts about your school's accreditation.