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Accredited Online Schools

Jul 13, 2008
Accreditation is the process used by colleges and high schools to determine a minimum level of quality in an educational program. While it is a far from perfect process, it does at least give students a way to determine which programs would be acceptable to colleges. A high school diploma that does not come from an accredited program is often rejected as a basis for college admission.

In addition to the regional accreditors, there are specialized accreditors. The most well-known of these is the Distance Education and Training Council (www.detc.org). It is a national accreditor, and in one of the oddities of education in America, national accreditation is considered to a lesser form of accreditation. However, my money is on DETC making the leap to equal status with the regional accreditors, particular for high school accreditation.

Accreditation enhances the credibility and reliability of an online course. It is safer for students to go for an online educational program accredited by any of the accrediting organizations, as many employers prefer accredited degrees. Some of the major accrediting agencies of the United States' Department of Education are the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSA), Northwest Association of Schools and of Colleges and Universities (NASC), and Higher Learning Commission of North Central Region (NCA). These agencies follow specific evaluation criteria for accrediting a program or institution. While joining an international program, make sure that the program is accredited by the ministries of education or other governmental departments of the respective country.

Accredited programs often, but not always, really are of a higher quality. The fact is that unaccredited high schools would become accredited if they thought there was the possibility that they would pass that rigorous assessment. At the high school level, there is no reason to use an unaccredited program.

Does this mean that unaccredited programs do not have merit? In some cases, it most certainly does, but it is not about whether they have merit. It is about proving it through a time-tested process and, in U.S. education circles, that is regional or national accreditation.
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