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What Is an Accredited Online College?

By K T Solis
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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Online degree programs allow people to earn a college degree from their own homes. A computer with internet access permits distance education students to pursue a degree and pave the way for a new career and possible higher income. When choosing a distance education program, it's important that students attend an accredited online college. This is because an accredited online college has been positively evaluated by a peer review board comprised of professors from other accredited universities or schools. Schools accredited by these respected review boards must meet certain standards in order to be approved.

Accredited online colleges offer degrees that are respected and recognized by other institutions of higher learning. Earning a degree from such a college allows the graduate to find a job requiring this particular credential. The employer knows that when he hires a graduate from an accredited online college, he is hiring someone who has completed a legitimate degree program that qualifies her for employment in a particular career field. Obtaining credit hours from an accredited online college also permits the student to transfer credit hours to another accredited college or university. In contrast, obtaining a degree from an unaccredited school will not impress other colleges that the student wishes to attend or employers seeking new employees.

Most reputable schools of higher education are accredited by one of several regional agencies. They are the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the Western Association of Colleges and Schools, the Northwestern Commission of Colleges and Schools, the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the New England Association of Colleges and Schools, and the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Prospective students who wish to enroll in a specific online school should verify that their school of choice is accredited by one of these six accrediting agencies. Agencies that grant accreditation evaluate each school according to several criteria. The agencies evaluate admission requirements, reputations of faculty, the quality of the programs offered, and other basic information.

Earning a degree from an accredited online school is a valuable way to obtain a quality education without leaving home. Parents with full-time careers, those wishing to make a career change, and people who do not wish to make lengthy commutes to a brick-and-mortar school can take advantage of an online education program. With an increasing number of affordable accredited online colleges available to students, obtaining a degree has become more accessible. By choosing an accredited online college, students can earn a respected degree that can often lead to a better job and a higher salary.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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