How to Verify that a Distance Learning School is Accredited

Many people have decided to take advantage of distance learning programs in order to further their education. However, all distance learning schools are not created equal. If a person is trying to take course that will be transferable to an institute of higher learning or be acceptable to an employer, the school has to be accredited. This is an easy task if you know where to look.

To verify that a distance-learning school is accredited, individuals can see if it is accepted by the Higher Learning Commission. This independent corporation is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). If a degree-granting school meets the criteria of the Commission, it is accredited and given membership into the two organizations. Its regional area includes the states of Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, New Mexico, South Dakota, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming; therefore, if the distance-learning school that interests a prospective student in is in any of these states, membership verification can be conducted.

Another way to verify that a distance-learning school is accredited is to check the schools credentials with the U.S. Department of Education. Individuals can follow a link on their website that leads to the section about college accreditation. From this section, they can read about the accreditation process to see if an institution meets the Department of Education’s standards. The website also provides a database of all institutions that have been accredited. If people have the name of the institution, they can enter it and conduct a search. If they are not sure of the distance-learning school they plan to attend, click on the verifying agency and a list of schools will appear on screen. From this list, individuals can choose what institution fits their needs.

Remember, just because a program is accredited by one of these organizations, individuals have to think about the state they live in or the other higher education institutions in their area or in the area they plan to relocate to and the company they are planning to apply. Some states may accept a distance-learning program, such as the University of Phoenix. Other places will not. If a person even thinks that they may one day attend a traditional university, they need to make sure that the credit is transferable. They also need to ask their current employees if these courses will be validated by the company. Some companies are still skeptical about distance learning, so they may prefer giving a promotion to someone holding a degree at a traditional university.

Distance-learning schools cost less than traditional colleges and universities. However, they still cost money. Before spending money on a program, it is important to make sure that it is accredited and will serve as an asset to future endeavors. In this way, a person saves both time and money and won’t regret doing something that sets them back further from their goals.

Sources:

http://www.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/index.html?src=qc

http://www.ncahlc.org/