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I’ve been reading this thread since the last few days and I finally finished reading the last post now. I am in exactly the same situation that Neha wrote about in her first post. While doing research on which course to pursue and which college to apply to, I came across some good information that I would like to share here; it just might help others. I do have a lot of questions in my head, and I’m hoping to discuss them with you and find some answers. Meanwhile, I’d just like to share whatever I found.
I am posting below the text of an article that talks about college accreditation and how to find a college with the right accreditation. This article talks mainly about accreditation of online universities and colleges, but I guess the same principles can be applied to brick and mortar schools also. The article can be found at Distance Learning, College Accreditation & Online Degrees: The Facts | GetEducated.com
What Is College or University Accreditation?
Accreditation provides for the independent review of education programs for the purpose of determining if that education is of uniform and sound quality.
Why Is Accreditation Important?
College accreditation is important if you want to have a public record of your learning that will be widely accepted by employers, professional associations and other colleges and universities.
Types of Institutional University Accreditation – Regional
In the United States the most widely recognized form of university accreditation comes from the regional accreditation boards. Harvard University is regionally accredited. Ohio University is regionally accredited. Stanford University is regionally accredited ... and so on. When people ask if you have attended an "accredited university" in the United States, they most commonly mean a regionally accredited university.
The Six Regional Accreditation Boards
Each of the six geographic regions of the United States has a non-governmental, regional agency that oversees and accredits degree-granting institutions headquartered in their territories. The six regional accreditation boards are:
- MSA—Middle States Association of Colleges & Schools
- NASC—Northwest Commission on Colleges & Universities
- NCA—North Central Association of Colleges & Schools
- NEASC—New England Association of Schools & Colleges
- SACS—Southern Association of Colleges & Schools
- WASC—Western Association of Schools & Colleges.
There is no better or worse agency among these six agencies. Regionally accredited colleges recognize degrees and credits earned at other regionally accredited institutions as equal to their own.
For example, if you earn an undergraduate or bachelor’s degree at one regionally accredited online college, such as the University of Maryland, it will be recognized as a valid degree for entering a graduate program later at the University of Illinois Online or any other regionally accredited university.
Types of Institutional College Accreditation - National
The most common type of accreditation other than regional accreditation is national accreditation. The three most common types of national accreditation agencies:
- Distance Education & Training Council (DETC)
- Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges & Schools (ACICS)
- Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT)
The DETC, founded in 1926, and first recognized as an accreditor by the U.S. Department of Education in 1955, accredits about 60 degree-granting home study institutions, as well as many schools that provide career and vocational training.
Colleges that offer theology training programs for the ministry may be accredited by these specialized national agencies:
- Association of Theological Schools in the US & Canada (ATS)
- Association of Advanced Rabbinical & Talmudic Schools (AARTS)
- Transnational Association of Christian Colleges & Schools (TRACS)
All of the above agencies are sometimes referred to as “national accrediting agencies” because they can accredit colleges located anywhere in the USA.
National Accreditation - Limits
Be forewarned that the majority of regionally accredited colleges (greater than 80 percent) do not accept courses and degrees earned at nationally accredited colleges as the equivalent of their own. If you earn your bachelor’s degree at a DETC-accredited college, for example, the majority of regionally accredited colleges may not accept this bachelor’s degree as sufficient for entering their graduate level program of study. Careers that are governed by state licensing boards—such as teaching, accounting and engineering—may not accept academic degrees unless these degrees are earned at regionally accredited universities.