|Accreditation is a system or process for providing public|
confidence and a tool for improvement used by educational
It promises a basic level of quality in an educational
institution through a process that examines a school’s
faculty, course content, recruiting practices, admissions
procedures, and more.
The purpose of accreditation is similar world wide:
* To ensure quality education programs through the use of
standards and rigorous evaluation criteria
* To stimulate institutions toward higher levels of quality
* To provide a system for public trust and accountability
You can learn much about the reputation of an institution
and the general quality of its academic programs from its
In most countries, education providers are nationally
controlled and regulated, usually by a single government
agency such as a Ministry of Education. In the US and
Canada, however, there is no centralized authority but
regional accreditation bodies ensure high standards in
academic programs and institutions.
The associations or governing bodies that grant
accreditation have responsibility for establishing
criteria, visiting and evaluating institutions, and
awarding accreditation to those programs and institutions
that meet their criteria.
Perhaps the best evidence that any online education program
is worth your time and money comes from the school’s
accreditation. The accreditation process ensures the school
has been reviewed in terms of its academics, recruiting,
admissions, faculty, and more. It signals that the
institution will provide quality education and continuously
work to improve its overall effectiveness and student
CHEA, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation,
reminds that accreditation also serves other purposes
beyond assuring academic quality to students and the
* Accreditation is required for students to gain access to
federal funds for grants and loans in the US.
* Accreditation makes credit transfer among colleges and
* Employers look for accreditation status when evaluating
credentials of job applicants and offering financial
support to employees
When you see that an institution is accredited by a
recognized authority, you can be sure of its integrity and
commitment to students.
Types of Accreditation
Institutions and individual programs (faculties) within an
institution participate in the accreditation process. The
two types of accreditation commonly used throughout the
Institutional accreditation is awarded when a college or
university meets the prescribed standards of the
accrediting agency. The effectiveness of the entire school
operation—including academics, administration, and related
services—is reviewed and certified.
Specialized, professional, or programmatic accreditation
Departments, programs, or schools within a college or
university that is institutionally accredited often seek
specialized accreditation. Specialized accreditation
focuses on a narrower set of standards particular to that
field of study—engineering, law, teaching, and nursing are
The licensing boards that regulate some professions may
require a student to attend programs that hold special
accreditation, so it is important for the prospective
student to know what is required to be a licensed
practitioner in their field.
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