When you get an online certificate or degree, it's important to know whether your program is accredited.
Accreditation is evaluating learning opportunities and determining if they meet certain standards. It can be done by a government agency or an independent accrediting body.
You may have heard of regional accreditation and national accreditation. Regional accreditation covers large geographic areas, such as entire states or countries. National accreditation is more specific and applies to individual schools or programs.
To apply for accreditation, you must fill out an online application form and submit it with proof of your educational credentials and transcripts from each school you've attended. You'll also need to provide evidence that you've passed certain exams associated with the program. Typically, these include two parts of the Uniform CPA exam and one of the Uniform CPA exams (AUD). Keep reading to know how to get an online course accredited.
Can Online Courses Be Accredited?
Yes, online courses can be accredited. Online course accreditation is a growing trend in higher education that has been gaining steam over the last 20 years.
Online course accreditation is a process many schools and universities use to verify that their online education programs meet certain quality standards. Through this process, institutions can ensure that their students receive a quality education from an accredited institution.
Online Course Accreditation Process
There are two main types of online training accreditation: regional and national. Regional accreditation covers institutions within a particular geographic region, while national accreditation covers an entire country or region (such as the United States).
National accreditation agencies include the Distance Education & Training Council (DETC), Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges & Schools (ACICS), and Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), to mention a few.
What Does Accreditation Signify for An Online Course?
In general terms, accreditation is a stamp of approval for educational institutions or programs that ensures their quality and rigor. In addition, it gives students confidence that they're getting an education from a reputable source.
Institutional (or programmatic) and highly specialized accreditation are the two basic types of training organization accreditation (or specialized). Specialized accreditation relates to individual programs within institutions, while institutional accreditation extends to entire schools or programs.
So basically, accreditation means that an institution has been evaluated by an outside agency and found to meet certain standards. The standards are set by a council or commission determined by each state or region where the institution operates.
The school should be able to provide copies of its accreditation documents—including a detailed listing of all programs offered by the institution and a complete catalog describing each program's requirements—free of charge.
You should always check with your state licensing board before enrolling in an online learning program.
These councils usually use peer reviews as a means of determining whether or not an institution meets its standards. Peer review refers to having other educators evaluate the quality and effectiveness of your program before allowing it to operate within their jurisdiction.
When you see an advertisement for an online course that claims it is "accredited," there are several things you should look out for before enrolling:
- How long has the institution been in business? A school with a short track record may not have had time yet to build up its reputation as a quality institution.
- What is the school's accreditation status? Most institutions that claim accreditation are accredited regionally by one of six regional accrediting bodies certified by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE).
- While legitimate institutions accredit many online courses, many aren't.
Also, It’s Important to Note That:
- Accreditation is not a guarantee of quality. Unfortunately, many accredited providers provide low-quality courses.
- Accreditation is not a guarantee of financial aid eligibility. For example, many accrediting agencies require that schools offer students the opportunity for student financial aid, but there is no requirement that the school provides it.
Here Are Some Red Flags to Look Out For:
- The course is being offered by a company with no affiliation with any accredited institution—and they may not even be legally allowed to offer courses in your state or country. In this case, the course will unlikely help you build the professional credibility you need to advance your career.
- The school offering the course doesn't have accreditation from any recognized agency in your country or state.
- The school offering the course isn't listed on a database like this one maintained by the U.S.-based Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). This nonprofit organization accredits degree-granting institutions and programs in the U.S. and abroad.
Reasons for Getting an Online Course Accreditation
You might want to get an online training course accredited for several reasons.
If you have an existing certification or degree, completing an online course may help you to improve upon it. This could be a good way to add new skills and knowledge to your professional portfolio without taking time away from your current job or responsibilities.
By getting your online course accredited, you can demonstrate that you have the required knowledge and skills in this area and that the industry recognizes it as valuable. This can lead to increased employment opportunities within the field and recognition from potential employers who may see your qualifications as more valid than other candidates who have not completed accredited courses.
Accreditation also allows you to promote yourself as someone qualified and experienced in your chosen field. When applying for jobs or promotions within an organization, having accreditation will make you stand out from applicants who only have basic or no qualifications.
A degree from an accredited institution opens doors for networking opportunities with employers and colleagues. This may be less important for some professions but is useful in careers like medical assistants, computer programming, and counseling, where collaboration is often essential.
Accreditation ensures quality control by ensuring that all courses are assessed by experts who have undergone thorough training. The assessment process involves external validation of course materials and assessments and internal checks on staff qualifications and experience. This means that students know they're getting the best possible education without worrying about whether it meets industry standards.
Getting your online course accredited will ensure that the quality of instruction is up to par with other schools and programs that are already accredited. This ensures that students do not receive sub-par education when they enroll in these programs and get continuous improvement.
Suppose you are looking for employment after completing your degree. In that case, it might be beneficial to get an online course accredited by an organization like the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). This will allow employers to see that your program meets certain standards and was produced by accredited members from a reputable institution.
Do Courses Need to Be Accredited?
The answer is not always. You are only required to have your course accredited if it is used for national credit or a professional license. You may use the self-study option if you do not need to use your course for either of these purposes.
Accreditation means that an external body has assessed your teaching standards, curriculum, and quality assurance processes and has determined that they meet an agreed set of criteria.
Courses that are not accredited may still be recognized as meeting the requirements of the AQF at a particular level – but they may not receive official recognition from other institutions or employers.
How Do You Get Accreditation for Online Learning and Online Education?
The process of gaining accreditation is a lengthy one. First, it involves submitting a self-study report that describes the college's programs and student outcomes to the accrediting agency. The agency will review this information and send representatives to visit your campus. After completing their visit, they'll write a report describing how well your college meets all of its standards. You'll receive full or provisional accreditation if you meet these standards.
Accredited online colleges gain accreditation and prepare for an audit.
Accreditation is a process a school goes through to demonstrate that it meets specific standards of quality. If you want to work with an accredited college or university, you can rest assured that your online degree will be respected and recognized by employers, other schools, and potential employers.
If an independent agency has accredited a college or university, it has met certain standards of quality set by that agency. In addition, the agency reviews the institution's financial resources and stability, curriculum, faculty qualifications, and other factors relevant to its mission as a degree-granting institution.
Make The Right Choice Today!
When choosing an online course, you must research and ensure that it is accredited by an organization recognized by the state or federal government. In addition, it ensures that the online school has met basic standards related to education quality, student safety, and financial stability before they can offer degrees or online certificates valid in other states or countries.
It's also important that you understand what support services are available for students enrolled in online programs. Generally speaking, most schools assist with technical problems, not personal matters like financial aid or health concerns. It's up to individual students to seek out these services on their own if needed.