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The Facts About Online College Accreditation

gradWhen choosing from the many excellent online colleges, one factor to consider is whether or not the online school is accredited by one of the six regional accreditors. Why is this important? It is important because these six regional agencies are recognized by the United States Department of Education (USDE) as well as the Council for Higher Accreditation (CHEA). It's also important to note that these agencies are the very same accreditors for all campus-based colleges and universities. This assures you that the online degree you earn or the credit hours you accumulate will be recognized both by employers as well as any future colleges or universities you plan to attend.

The process of figuring out whether or not a particular school is regionally accredited is pretty straight forward. First, you need to identify which State the online program is based out of. You can then look to see which of the regional agencies are responsible for that state. Once you know that you can just double check to make sure that the school states that it has been accredited by the proper regional agency. NOTE: if they have been accredited by any of the six, you can safely assume that your degree and credits earned will be widely accepted.

New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) Accredits schools in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

NEASC Accredited Online Colleges

Anna Maria CollegeXX
Bay Path CollegeX
Boston UniversityXX
Brandeis UniversityX
Champlain CollegeX
Lesley UniversityXX
New England CollegeXX
Northeastern UniversityX
Norwich UniversityX
Post UniversityXXX
Quinnipiac UniversityX
Southern New Hampshire UniversityXXX
University of Massachusetts-Central OfficeXXX
Worcester Polytechnic InstituteX
North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA) Accredits schools in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Navajo Nation, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

NCA Accredited Online Colleges

A T Still University of Health SciencesXX
American Intercontinental University OnlineXXXX
American Public University SystemXXX
Argosy University-ChicagoXXX
Arizona State UniversityXXX
Ashford UniversityXXX
Baker College of MuskegonXXX
Bellevue UniversityXX
Benedictine UniversityXXX
Bowling Green State University-Main CampusX
Capella UniversityXXX
Chamberlain College of Nursing - St. Louis CampusXX
Colorado Technical University OnlineXXXX
Creighton UniversityX
Crown CollegeXXX
DeVry UniversityXXXX
Fort Hays State UniversityXXX
Graceland University-LamoniXX
Grand Canyon UniversityXXX
Herzing CollegeXXX
Indiana State UniversityX
Jones International UniversityXX
Kaplan UniversityXXX
Kent State University Kent CampusXX
Lewis UniversityXX
Malone UniversityX
National American University-Rapid CityXXX
Northcentral UniversityXX
Northwestern CollegeX
Northwestern UniversityX
Ohio Christian UniversityXX
Ohio University-Main CampusX
Oklahoma Wesleyan UniversityXX
Rasmussen College-Eden PrairieXX
Rasmussen College-St CloudXX
Saint Xavier UniversityX
Sterling CollegeX
Tiffin UniversityXX
University of Cincinnati-Main CampusXX
University of Illinois at ChicagoXX
University of Minnesota-CrookstonX
University of Missouri-ColumbiaX
University of New EnglandXX
University of Phoenix-Online CampusXXXX
University of the RockiesXX
University of Wisconsin-SuperiorX
Upper Iowa UniversityXX
Walden UniversityXXX
Western International UniversityXX
Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges (MSA) Accredits schools in Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Central America, Europe, and the Middle East.

MSA Accredited Online Colleges

Bryant and Stratton College-BuffaloX
Clarion University of PennsylvaniaXXX
DeSales UniversityX
Drexel UniversityXX
Duquesne UniversityXX
George Washington UniversityX
Lancaster Bible CollegeX
Lehigh UniversityX
New Jersey Institute of TechnologyX
New York Medical CollegeX
New York UniversityX
Philadelphia UniversityX
Rochester Institute of TechnologyX
Saint Josephs CollegeX
Strayer UniversityXXX
The Art Institute of PittsburghXX
University of Maryland-Baltimore CountyX
University of Maryland-University CollegeX
University of ScrantonX
Utica CollegeXX
Widener University-Main CampusX
Southern Association of Schools and Colleges (SACS) Accredits schools in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Latin America.

SACS Accredited Online Colleges

Abilene Christian UniversityX
Amridge UniversityXXXX
Cumberland UniversityXX
Eastern Kentucky UniversityXX
ECPI College of TechnologyXX
Florida Hospital College of Health SciencesX
Florida National CollegeXX
Hodges UniversityXXX
Keiser University-Ft. LauderdaleXXX
LeTourneau UniversityXX
Liberty UniversityXXXX
Loyola University New OrleansX
Nova Southeastern UniversityXX
Regent UniversityXX
Saint Leo UniversityXXX
Stetson UniversityX
Sullivan UniversityXXX
Thomas UniversityX
University of FloridaX
Vanderbilt UniversityX
Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Accredits schools in California, Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, Palau, Micronesia, Northern Marianas, Marshall Islands, and other Australasian locations.

WASC Accredited Online Colleges

California State University-Monterey BayX
California State University-NorthridgeX
Hawaii Pacific UniversityX
San Joaquin Valley College-OnlineX
University of California-Irvine
University of Southern CaliforniaX
Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges (NWCCU) Accredits schools in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

NWCCU Accredited Online Colleges

Boise State UniversityX
Corban CollegeX
Gonzaga UniversityX
Marylhurst UniversityXX
Portland State UniversityX
Western Governors UniversityXX
If your online degree is from an online college or university that has been accredited by one of the above accreditors, they you can be certain that it will be accepted by any employer or other university. There are very few exceptions. If you are concerned about it and know exactly what you intend to do with your degree it's always a good idea to double check. Please do remember though if you are going to any school in a State noted above, that same accreditor will most definitely have given any college (campus or online) the same accreditation. Again, a degree from an accredited online college (regionally accredited) is the same as any traditional or campus-based degree program.

Regional Accreditation vs. National Accreditation

So what if the online college you want to attend is NOT accredited by one of the six regional accreditation agencies?  Does that mean that your degree is somehow inferior?  Several online schools are accredited by the Distance Education Training Council.  The DETC is recognized by both the USDE and CHEA.  So that's great news for students of those colleges.  It basically means that any employer will accept degrees earned from the DETC.  However, since the degree did not come from a regionally accredited school it is very possible that you will run into problems with  a regionally accredited school accepting transfer credits or the degree that you earned from a DETC accredited school.  It's also important to note that several online colleges are both regionally and nationally accredited so be sure to look for that as well.

How to Check Your Online School's Accreditation

You might think that it is difficult or takes a lot of work to validate a school's accreditation.  In reality it's actually very simple.  You can simply go to the United States Department of Education's college search page located here.  Once you are there you can search for your online college and see what its says.  You will be able to immediately identify any potential problems with your online college.