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What Is Accreditation And How It Is Important For An Online School?
Absolutely! In the United States, there have been several instances where students have spent a lot of money and put in a significant amount of effort to earn a degree only to realize that their degree isn’t really worth all that much. As far as online schools in the United States are concerned, accreditation is what separates the really good online distance home school learning schools from your regular run-of-the-mill schools. Accreditation sets the bar of education at a particular threshold, which ensures that the quality of education offered to student’s matches up to the standards that have been set.
WHAT IS ACCREDITATION MEANS?
Accreditation is a process by which external agencies (also known as Accrediting Agencies) assign a particular status to an online school, which verifies and endorses the level of quality offered by the courses run by that particular online home school. It is a process that has been created by private, nonprofit educational institutions to carry out external reviews of the courses and programs that are run by colleges and universities to ensure they match up to desired quality levels. In the United States, accreditation is monitored by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
WHAT IS AN ACCREDITING AGENCY?
An external agency that carries out the entire procedure related to quality review of the courses run by online distance learning schools and certifies them, if they match up to the standards set, is referred to as an Accrediting agency. In the United States, there are several such agencies that offer accreditation to schools, colleges and universities. However, not all are legitimate ones. Only accrediting agencies that are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation are considered legitimate and offer valid accreditation. Degrees and diplomas earned from schools, colleges and universities with such valid accreditation’s are the only ones that will offer you any value in terms of higher education, employment opportunities and military applications.
WHY ACCREDITATION IS VERY, VERY IMPORTANT?
This is why accreditation is considered to be one of the crucial factors among others when selecting an online home school in the United States. It is the set of national or regional educational standards that has been ultimately set, after careful deliberation, as the benchmark for all schools, colleges and universities to ensure that only high-quality education is delivered to students. Accreditations and its importance is what set good online K-12 schools apart from diploma mills. It is a measure that safeguards the interests of students and parents against fraudulent organizations seeking to make a quick buck at the expense of students unmindful of the future repercussions.
Diploma mills are schools that sell educational degrees and diplomas with the primary motive of making a profit. They require minimal effort on the part of the students and seldom follow any nationally or regionally recognized standards for education. Even the ones that do talk about their credentials often are accredited by organizations not recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, which renders the degrees and diplomas offered by them almost useless. Colleges and universities, as well as employers offer very little importance to diplomas from such online distance education schools, and students are often left in the lurch after having put in so much time and effort, not to mention the amount of money already spent on earning the degree.
MORE ON ACCREDITATION
According to the CHEA, accreditation in the United States is carried out by private, nonprofit organizations that have been specifically formed to ensure quality assurance and quality improvement, and not by government. The accreditation structure for an online high school in the U.S is decentralized and complex, which is along the lines of the complex structure of higher education in the country. It is also the basis on which online distance learning schools are offered access to federal and state funding and student aid. Since both, the federal government and the state government rely on accreditation for providing funds, it is very important for students seeking aid to ensure that the online school they plan to enroll with has all the required accreditation’s.
In terms of credentials, some accrediting agencies operate at the national level while there are others that offer accreditation on a regional level. Although regional accreditation tends to be more widely recognized and accepted, both are perfectly valid as long as they are awarded by organizations recognized by the USDE or CHEA. While this may not be a very worrying factor, it can cause certain hiccups in some cases. Since regional accreditation tends to be more widely accepted, transferring credits from a regionally accredited online school to a nationally accredited online school or even another regionally accredited one may not pose a problem in case of a school transfer.
However, if you’re planning to transfer from a nationally accredited one to a regionally accredited one, the situation may pose a problem. This is something students and parents who are constantly on the move will need to keep in mind when deciding on enrolling with an online distance learning program. There are several aspects of online education that accreditation caters to in terms of quality, funding, credit transfer and other aspects related to future educational and employment opportunities. Accreditation is so important and the primary mode of assurance via which schools and colleges convey the legitimacy and authenticity of the quality of their educational programs to students and parents. It is also needed for access to federal government funding programs as well as student aid provided by state governments.
Furthermore, accreditation also serves as a yardstick for employers to evaluate a potential employee’s credentials and as a measure of comparison between candidates. It is what offers corporate employers the confidence that the student has been sufficiently trained and measures up to the desired quality standards. Last but not the least, accreditation plays an important role when transferring credits between schools and colleges across the country. It is considered an important indicator of the quality of education that the student has received and has a significant bearing on student acceptance.
The Accreditation plays an important role in the child’s education in the online school. The degree earned from the regionally and nationally accredited schools is accepted by the colleges and universities for the further education and employment. Enroll into an online school that is regionally and nationally accredited to get an acceptance in the universities and to be employed in the international firms.