How to Find Accredited Online Schools

by Waller Jamison

One of the most important factors which should influence your choice of online education degree is accreditation. It is essential that you apply to an accredited online school.

However, many colleges will say that they are accredited, but have created their own form of accreditation which is not recognized elsewhere. So how can you be sure that your prospective online education classes are run by properly accredited online schools?

The first step is to assess your long-term goals. What do you hope your online education classes will equip you for? Do you intend to study for a master's degree or are you planning to apply for a job in a particular profession?

 If you have a definite career in mind, you should contact the professional society which regulates the profession you hope to enter.

Ask them if they recognize the courses, both at first degree and at master's level, you plan to do. Be sure that you also mention the name of the online university through which you hope to gain the qualification.

If they don't know the college you mention, or don't have any knowledge of the course, ask which courses and online universities they do recognize. No matter how good you might think the syllabus, there is no point in gaining a university education online if it does not lead to your goal.

This will not be as important if your future career just asks for a degree, giving you plenty of scope in terms of subject and university. However, even if a general qualification is all that is required, there may be stiff competition and so it's always advisable to get the best education you can.

Here are some US based organizations that accredit online colleges.

SACS - Southern Association of Schools and Colleges

This body accredits schools and colleges in Latin America, as well as the following
eleven state in the south of the United States:

Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky,
Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina,
South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

Go to their website and click on the map to check colleges for each state.

WASC Western Association of Schools and Colleges

This organization accredits schools in California, Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, Palau, Micronesia, Northern Marianas, Marshall Islands, and the Pacific Basin.

For senior colleges and universities, go to their website and click on the directory icon in the top right hand corner. You can download a list of approved institutions in pdf format. (You'll need Abode Reader for this, if it isn 't already on your computer you can get it free here Abode Reader)

NEASC - New England Association of Schools and Colleges

Is responsible for accrediting colleges in:

Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East,
As well as the following regions of the US:
Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts,
New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont

You'll find the post secondary colleges listed on their website.

NCA North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement

This is the body responsible for accrediting colleges in the following list of states:

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 finally Wyoming.

The postsecondary section will give you details of approved colleges.

 MSA - Middle States Association of Schools
and Colleges

Accredits schools in:
Europe, Central America, the Middle East.
and the following US states:
Delaware, District of Columbia,
Maryland, New Jersey, New York,
Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico,
U.S. Virgin Islands,

NWCCU Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges

This is the official body for accrediting schools in:

Alaska, Idaho, Montana,
Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

Degrees gained from schools validated by any of these bodies will be considered equivalent to an offline university degree. They will be accepted by the majority of employers and also by other universities should you wish to apply for post-graduate study.

Unless you are taking a degree for pure pleasure and don't need the qualification or the extra money a good degree can bring in, you must make sure that your college course is properly accredited, whether you attend a real-world university or an online university.

 Whatever method of study you choose and wherever you live, funding your course is likely to be a problem. For information on how to finance your studies if you live in the US, UK or Australia go to:

Finance your studies.