Because there are many online schools offering various education programs, it’s very important to choose a university or an institution that is accredited by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) and recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
Understanding the Accreditation Process
There are five main steps in seeking proper accreditation: self-examination, peer review, examination, judgment, and continuous review. Let’s take a look at each procedure more closely.
1. Self-examination. First, a university or a learning institution must conduct self-examination to ensure that their education system is in accordance with the rules set by national accreditation organizations. The school must also prepare the necessary reports prior to submission.
2. Peer review. The faculty members or administrative members of an accreditation organization will evaluate the reports submitted by the university offering online education programs. Afterwards, the team will also visit the college or institution for further examination.
3. Examination. Apart from the examination conducted by faculty members of an accreditation organization, public volunteers are also invited to conduct their own evaluation based on the standards of higher education institutions.
4. Judgment. Once report evaluation, visitation, and other examination steps has been completed, the accreditation organization assigns its commission to review the results and approve or deny the accreditation status of the online university or learning institution.
5. Continuous review. Once the accreditation status has been confirmed, the university or learning institution will still be subjected to rotational reviews and evaluations to make sure that it is able to keep up with the standards of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Benefits of Accreditation
Some people may frown at online distance learning programs, thinking that they are not as good as traditional school settings. However, earning an online degree from a university or college accredited by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation will ensure the graduate that his/her diploma or certificate will be recognized by reputable companies and employers in the industry.
If you are seeking for financial support from the federal government though student loans or grants, you should make sure that your online school or institution is recognized by the US Department of Education.
Another benefit of choosing an accredited online school is that students are given the opportunity to transfer completed units in another university, should they decide to switch to a different school. If your previous university is in good standing and accredited, previous credits will be accepted and carried over to your new transcript.
Therefore, choosing an online school or university with formal accreditation gives you assurance that the education you can get will be worth your money, time and effort. Although an online degree does not guarantee successful employment, it certainly gives a graduate the edge over other competitors or job seekers.
Benefits of Accreditation
Success in the workplace
Most employers prefer to hire job applicants who have gained their education from a college or university with the appropriate accreditation status. Many employers also look to see that employees have been educated at an appropriately accredited institution when making decisions about business promotions, company advancements, and whether to provide tuition coverage or assistance for employees who wish or need to further their education. It is also common for states to require that a college, university, or program be accredited when allowing students to acquire state professional licensure.
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