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How to Identify When an Online School is Accredited
Finding the right online school to attend can make for a difficult decision when there are an array of schools available to you. When you’re attempting to sort through the online schools to find ones that are actually viable, it’s important that you use possible accreditation of the school as part of your criteria. While this information isn’t always visible on a school’s website, there are several things that you can do to determine whether or not a school has received accreditation.
What Does It Mean for a College to Be Accredited?
Accreditation is a kind of analysis that’s done for education programs to determine if they match certain standards that are set by the accreditation group. There are numerous accrediting agencies throughout the country that can provide traditional colleges and online schools with accreditation. Accreditation is essential because most employers won’t accept a degree from an institution that hasn’t been accredited.
It’s also important to understand that you won’t be able to transfer from a non-accredited school to an accredited school with your credits intact. If both colleges are fully accredited, the credits that you’ve accumulated will transfer from one college to another. When you’re looking for accredited online schools, there are several steps you can take to make sure that the school of your choice has received accreditation.
Search Database of Accredited Programs and Institutions
If you visit the U.S. Department of Education website, you can find a database that allows you to quickly search for any accredited school. If the school that you enter into the search bar doesn’t show up, there’s a good chance that it isn’t accredited. You can access this database at this link. You can search by such criteria as institution name, state, address, city, or accrediting agency. Keep in mind that you usually need to be accurate when typing in a name of the school that you’re searching for, which means that you should avoid using abbreviations.
Once you find the school of your choice, you will be able to select the accrediting agency, which will give you a substantial amount of information about the agency as well as the accredited programs at your college of choice. Unfortunately, this database isn’t exactly exhaustive, which means that there’s a possibility your school won’t show up in the database even though it’s accredited.
Search Through Primary Accrediting Agencies
There are six regional accrediting agencies that can provide online schools and colleges with accreditation. These agencies include:
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
- New England Association of Colleges and Schools
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Each agency represents different states throughout the U.S. For instance, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges represents Hawaii and California. Every agency has its own database that you can access, which will allow you to search for your school.
Get In Touch With the Online School
If you haven’t been able to find solid evidence that your primary school is accredited, you can always contact the college and ask to speak with the admissions office. They should be able to provide you with detailed information about their accreditation while also answering any other questions you might have.
Now that you know more about how to ascertain if an online school has been accredited, you should be able to find schools that meet your criteria and will provide you with the quality of education that you deserve.
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