Accreditation is a voluntary process schools undergo so that people can be assured of the school’s excellent quality and high academic standards. In order to receive accreditation, the schools must be periodically reviewed by reputable private accrediting agencies that determine whether a school meets their strict standards. If a school is accredited, people can trust that the school offers a quality education to its students.
The accrediting process was developed over 100 years ago in order to distinguish schools that followed a certain set of academic standards. The process worked well, and it is widely used today.
Why is Accreditation Important?
Accreditation is a rigorous process that requires excellent performance and a quality academic program; not every school has what it takes. Therefore, students who want to ensure that they are signing up for a top-notch education that will prepare them for future success and help them advance in their careers look for schools that are accredited.
Accreditation is especially important these days, with all of the people signing up to get their degrees online. By making sure their school of choice is recognized and backed by major accrediting agencies, people attending college online can be sure that they are attending a real, quality university and receiving a degree that has value. All of the best online schools seek accreditation so their students can be assured of their education’s value.
How do Schools Receive Accreditation?
Schools wishing to receive accreditation must follow the guidelines set forth by their local accrediting agency. There are six regional college and university accrediting agencies, including the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Online programs are often accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council. In addition to university-wide accreditations, specific college degree programs may receive additional program accreditations as well.
The process of accreditation is self-regulated and peer-reviewed. Schools seeking accreditation request the accrediting agency’s written standards and then take the steps necessary to make sure the school complies with those standards. Once everything is in order, the school requests a visit from the accrediting agency. The accrediting body makes sure that the school is following all guidelines, and, if they are, the school receives its accreditation. Accreditation is not a one-time process, however; schools must renew their accreditations after a certain number of years, such as five or ten.