Make sure your degree is recognized by attending only accredited colleges and universities in the US.
But don’t worry: With so many choices, you should have little trouble finding an accredited college or university that meets your college academic needs!
Accredited colleges in the US meet standards established by private agencies. This system is different from many other educational systems because the US government is not involved in the accreditation process.
The goal of accreditation is to ensure that a college’s programs meet a certain minimum standard.
The US Department of Education is not responsible for accreditation. Instead, this responsibility rests with the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Each state (for example, California, Florida, New York, etc.) approves which colleges can operate within its borders. But don’t be fooled. Approval does not mean the college is accredited. It means that the college can operate as a business in that state.
Accredited colleges in the US meet the standards of a recognized reviewing agency. Accrediting agencies are private educational associations recognized by the government.
These agencies develop criteria and conduct evaluations to determine if a particular college meets the required standards. Schools that meet the standards are considered accredited colleges in the US.
Schools can receive accreditation from either national or regional accreditors. Nationally accredited schools are mostly for-profit. For example, they could offer vocational or technical programs. Most regionally accredited schools are non-profit, with academics as the primary focus.
If you decide to attend a nationally accredited school, remember this: In some cases, regionally accredited schools will not accept transfer credits from a nationally accredited school. This is because of academic standards and differing courses of study.
If you want to attend a professional or specialized college, choosing an accredited program is very important for licensing purposes.
Attending an unaccredited college could prevent you from taking the necessary steps for professional US licensure. In some fields, you need a license before you can legally practice your profession in the US. Choosing an accredited school can be crucial!
Almost every profession has a group that is a recognized accreditor for professional or specialized schools.
To further complicate the process, many non-accredited colleges in the US offer diplomas, degrees and other certificates. Some even award diplomas and college degrees for a one-time fee. Such schools are referred to as diploma mills.
Diploma mills must be avoided!
Some institutions– mainly religious and newly chartered schools– are unaccredited for various reasons but offer quality educations. Degrees from these institutions could cause difficulties in the future. Further explanations and evidence of coursework might be required when you are asked to submit transcripts for jobs or future graduate study.
Checking the accreditation of colleges and universities in America is easy. Officials at the college will not hesitate to tell prospective students that the school is accredited. Also, college literature often will mention whether or not it is accredited.
In addition, the US Department of Education offers a database of accredited colleges in the US.
Attending an accredited college is an important part of receiving a quality education in the US. If you understand what accreditation means, you are more likely to meet your career goals and choose a college that’s right for you