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Finding An Accredited Distance Learning College

Aug 17, 2007
Many colleges and universities offer online courses designed to supplement or update existing training and education or to fulfill the needs of casually interested adult students. These courses, when not part of a licensing or degree program, are largely offered without accreditation. Not offering credits can make those classes much more affordable and removes some of the requirements of accreditation such as testing and graded assignments. Students who are pursuing education to achieve a degree or to fulfill professional requirements often need acceptable accreditation.

In the past, local and regional institutes of higher education relied on their reputations to attract students. Those reputations conferred value to their degrees and to their graduates. Today, an online student can pursue a degree at a college from any part of the world and rely on the offered degree without personal knowledge of the institution's reputation. Today's distance learning student needs to be able to verify the credentials of an accredited distance learning college.

Accrediting Agencies

Institutions of higher learning have always received their accreditation from agencies that set standards and authenticate that they are met and that they continue to be met. A potential student should be able to ascertain an online college's claims to accreditation from information posted on its site. If the student intends to use the acquired credits or degree to transfer to a specific educational institution or to submit to a licensing board or employer, that student should make sure that the accrediting agency is acceptable.

In the United States, the Department of Education recognizes specific accreditation agencies. The most widely-accepted credits are those from accredited distance learning colleges recognized by regional accreditors. International schools are expected to meet modified Generally Accepted Accreditation Principles (mGAAP). Degrees from schools accredited by these agencies will be accepted everywhere. Next highest acceptance is for those accredited distance learning college accredited by the Distance Education Training Council (DETC) and several other accrediting agencies that specialize in courses and degrees intended as preparation for certain business and professional areas. Somewhat less widely accepted are credits approved by state approval agencies which cover only state standards.

An accredited distance learning college may require that some classes are taken on campus. They may offer online courses but may require the tests to be taken on campus or they may just require that all work is done online. This may differ according to school or according to major since some degrees require lab-based classes. A student may find an accredited distance learning college by searching for online colleges or may find that a local college offers online degrees. While checking out degree-granting institutions, a prospective student should include questions on accreditation for each accredited distance learning college being considered.
About the Author
For more information on accredited distance learning colleges visit http://www.DistanceLearningTown.com/ or http://DistanceLearningTown.blogspot.com/
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