What is Accreditation and What are the Differences?

The 'What is Accreditation' question is asked by successful people long before making a decision about which Accredited University to attend.

Or Accredited Online University. Either way, the type of University Accreditation your school of choice holds can greatly impact your future.

I'm not worried about you. You came looking for answers to your questions and thus I revert back to the opening quote.

Just ask yourself a couple of questions and then you'll be done.

  • Does it make any difference to you whether you are able transfer to another school later on in your studies? (A Master Degree, perhaps?)
If no, choose the school that is most convenient and respected in the field of study you are most interested in. As long as they are accredited. But that is no answer to the what is Accreditation question.

Some trade schools have National Accreditation and can be some of the best in the world at what they do. The credits earned may not be transferrable to the university of Florida but what you learn might turn you into the next best 3D animation creator at Pixar!

  • Do you feel you should 'keep your options open' for continued studies in the future at a traditional Educational Institution?
If yes, choose a school with Regional Accreditation.

The document you'll receive is the most widely accepted Educational document in the world. You can always change paths at any time in the future or even run off to Vietnam to teach English!

For those who really don't know what the heck they want to do...yet.

I got an Email from a guy who had already completed his 4th Semester at an Accredited University. His first question was ... "I am attending a Nationally Accredited University. I want to return to my home State to complete my degree. How do I go about transferring the credits from this school to the other."

I replied quickly. "You don't transfer your credits because you can't. Your new school does not accept credits from a Nationally Accredited University". Needless to say he went nuts in his next email.

He had already completed 2 years of University at $74,000USD only to find out that the credits he'd earned were useless to transfer to another school.

That doesn't mean he did not learn anything, though.

Many of the very best art and film schools are Nationally Accredited and have produced some of the film, animation and Cinematographer's top stars.

  • What is Accreditation?

Some Organizations work to ensure that the education being provided by an institution of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality. These Organizations are then responsible for granting accreditation, or their approval, that a school is meeting the requirements.

The problem for students is that there are too many Accrediting Organizations. Most of them are legit but often other schools, accredited by a different organization are not required to recognize any accreditation that is not Regional Accreditation.

There are actually 3 types of university Accreditation. We'll try and explain them simply by setting you straight on what type of accreditation you should be looking for and which ones to avoid or at least consider with a grain of salt.

You'll be glad to answer the what is accreditation question.

  • Regional Accreditation

This is the most widely accepted Educational document in the world. Only 6 agencies are allowed to issue Regional Accreditation and each of them are sponsored and recognized by the United States Department of Education.

Regional Accreditation is normally given to Colleges and Universities that follow a very strict and traditional ideology. You can't take a welding course at Regionally accredited Universities and colleges.

That takes me to the next Accreditation.

  • National Accreditation

I believe that National Accreditation Agencies actually started out with the right idea. Some excellent schools operate with National Accreditation.

At first, they began issuing Accreditation to only the oldest and most well established Trade and Vocational Institutions in the country. This achieved their goal of establishing a uniform system of grading and credit transfer.

Then money came into it. New National Accreditation Councils And Commissions got into the game and began issuing some accreditations to some questionable schools.

People stopped asking the what is accreditation question long ago. Now, they just see "University" and assume they are one in the same.

Nationally Accredited schools may go unrecognized by Regionally Accredited schools but not by the Big Banks. A student attending a Nationally Accredited school can walk into Sallie Mae and legally apply for a student loan.

Yup, you can borrow $120,000USD from Sallie Mae to get an Education from a school unrecognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The Department of Education only recognizes Regional Accreditation.

no one is looking out for you educational Needs

I may sound a bit cynical but the truth is no one out there is looking after your educational interests. Education is big business and you have to be careful and get informed.

Many schools (not just Nationally Accredited) out there consult Psychologists on how best to deliver a sales pitch to people seeking answers during a time of anxiety.

Buy This Education
Enrol With Us and Get That Job!

Choosing a Post Secondary school is a very stressful time for students because, at the time, they believe that this is the most important choice of their lives.

Taking the time to answer the what is accreditation question is not high in the list of things to stress about.

So schools created a sales pitch to best alleviate that stress. They overstate their figures on how many students find work after attending their institution.

Some schools count the graduates now working at Starbucks as gainfully employed Graduates.

So be careful. We might be adding a section to this website called "Digging up the Dirt". I love digging up the dirt on schools. Strictly the Dirt that affects you and any student looking for a good school.

The story above is the truth. We did find out that one very highly regarded school was counting all employed students as gainfully employed graduates even if they were working in Starbucks.

They then used this in the sales pitch to new prospects. And they are the last to answer the 'what is accreditation question'.

"Yup. 82% of our graduates find work. If you attend this school you need not worry about finding work. [Pause] Unless you fail every one of your classes that is...[laughter with impossibility tone]"

It's a war out there for your tuition dollars. Arm yourself well with good information and the only sale anyone will make to you is one where you also win by getting a good education.

You'll not need to ask the 'What is Accreditation question' again.

Some National Accrediting Agencies

Accredited by who?

Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT), Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), and
Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), to name a few.

Then we have agencies responsible for accrediting religious schools and Faith based schools. They are the Association for Biblical Higher Education, Association of Theological Schools, and the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools.

Believe it or not but there are students who studied 'Biblical Higher Education' for 2 years are now complaining that Harvard won't accept their credits!

The what is accreditation question gets more and more difficult to answer. Or, at least qualification for it.

Specialized Accreditation

Sometimes a very specialized program of study needs it's own specialized Accreditation. It has to be dealt with separately from the other classes in the School. Thus the name was born; Specialized Accreditation.

Students studying specific professions like medicine, dentistry, nursing, law, or engineering (just a sample) need to graduate from an accredited program with specialized accreditation issued by the Professional Association for that particular field.

What is Acceditation for other professions?

Good examples are the American Medical Association [AMA] for studies in Medicine, the American Dental Association [ADA] for dentistry, the National Nursing League [NLN] for nursing, the American Bar Association [ABA] for law and the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology [ABET].

You'll need Specialized Accreditation in order to receive a license to practice in any of the above fields.

Harvard University has Regional Accreditation and its Law courses are also Accredited by the American Bar Association.

Good luck out there. Getting yourself prepared is the only thing you can do until the right opportunity comes along. At least you'll never ask the what is accreditation question again.

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