How Can I Find Out if An Online College is Accredited?

Choosing to pursue an online education can be scary, especially when questions arise about online college accreditation. Schools without accreditation often provide students with substandard education in exchange for high tuition and textbook costs. Lack of appropriate accreditation can prevent students from mastering their subject and finding gainful employment at the end of their educational journey. For this reason, it is important for students to acquire degrees from accredited institutions when participating in online learning.

The Importance of Accreditation

To be accredited means to uphold certain academic standards and practices that are recognized, reviewed, and approved by an accrediting body. These standards often dictate everything from the types of resources that must be available to the frequency and types of examinations. Schools and programs wishing to find accreditation, and preferably regional accreditation, must undergo a regular review process from the accrediting institution in order to make sure that all requirements are being followed. Additionally, if the accrediting body makes any changes to their standards or requirements between review processes, the school or institution must also comply with new regulations in order to maintain their previously approved accreditation.

Researching for and about Accreditation

If an online school or program has accreditation, the information is normally on the sites homepage, or in a location that is easy to locate from the homepage. Schools with valid accreditation do not want to hide this information because it will attract more business for the school. However, if you are unable to locate information on the website about accreditation, there are many different ways to find out.

The easiest way to locate information about accreditation when it does not appear to be available on the site is to do a quick online search. The information about the school you are looking for should be easily found on the first page of the search results. If the school’s information does not appear, it is safe to assume that the school does not have valid accreditation. If this is the result, researching other schools should be a priority, as non-accredited schools normally operate as for-profit diploma mills, and those diplomas will be of no value.

If the school does yield accreditation results, it is important to next look into the accrediting body itself.  Regionally accredited institutions are often the safest options for online students and there are many sites which verifies regional accreditation. If a school has a national, international, or other type of accreditation, be sure to thoroughly research the school before contributing money.

Investigations and Payoffs

Although accreditation may seem complicated in light of the various types and the false accrediting bodies, it is key to research accreditation for every school you think about attending. Most legitimate schools will display their credentials in a easy to find location on their site and in their pamphlets, so it will not take much effort to determine their status. Schools that hide or do not mention this information should be critically considered and heavily investigated by running a quick search engine query. Make sure to verify any results with the Council for Higher Education for valid accreditation. Verifying online college accreditation will provide you with the best chance of excelling in your field.