Accreditation

Degrees from accredited institutions will be worth more to you when you rejoin the workforce than those that are not accredited. To receive accreditation, an institution must have an outside accreditation organization review the structure and content of its degree programs to ensure that the institution meets specific education standards. There are different types of accreditation.

Regional accreditation generally applies to what most people consider a "traditional college or university." In order to do graduate work at many of these institutions, you must have obtained a bachelor degree from another regionally accredited institution. Under regional accreditation the school is certified as acceptable by one of the six nationally recognized accrediting organizations in the country. The Department of Education website lists each regional accrediting agency and the states where they accredit institutions. Essentially, if an institution is regionally accredited, so are its programs. So, if you are considering a specific program at an accredited institution such as distance learning you can be assured that the distance learning component is equally accredited.
 
National accreditation generally applies to what most people consider a "vocational college or institution." National accreditation agencies focus on a specific field of study, for example, Art and Design, Business, or Physical Therapy. Typically, national accreditation agencies review institutions that have a career-focused curriculum and accredit schools located within the United States as well as some schools abroad.

Specialized accreditation focuses on particular aspects of the department, program, school, or college's specified academic field of study. Students who are considering enrolling in a college degree program should know the requirements of their future career field and what it takes to become a licensed practitioner in that field. 

If you are unsure of an institution’s accreditation, you can visit www.ed.gov to view the school’s type of accreditation or you can contact Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC), at www.soc.aascu.org. SOC will provide a quality check for higher education distance learning providers. Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) offers a wide variety of distance training and degree program options. Visit www.detc.org/military for more information.

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