The online degree programs are increasing in popularity and creditability, more and more prestigious colleges and universities offer complete online degree programs taught by the same faculty who teach in their classrooms. Many online programs offers by these prestigious colleges and universities are reputable. Hence, earning a degree online can be a good option for many students, but some "diploma mills" have hurt the integrity of such programs.
If you plan to pursue a degree online, precaution steps must be taken to avoid earning a "Fake" online degree. Some "diploma mills" have sophisticated Web sites and might seem like real universities but lack college-level work and accreditation. You should always check with the Council for Higher Education Accreditation to see if their program is accredited.
Most of "diploma mills" are focus on fast production and distribution of fake degrees. They just offer credit for life experience and if you pay your fees you get your diploma. You don't have to worry about practical experience. If you pay a little extra, you can even graduate with honors and you can even complete a degree including Doctorate degree in 5 to 7 days.
The problem arises when this life experience is not accepted by state and federal laws and you facethe problem of looking for a suitable job. Today, most employers are smart, they will check your degree against accreditation and they aware of those online colleges which "Famous" in "diploma mills". So, make sure you are holding a legitimate degree when applying for a job position; the best way to avoid this from happening to you is to check the online degree program against it's accreditation before your register for it.
In general, accredited colleges and universities will receive the .edu designation in their website domain name. For example, Stanford University's web address is Stanford.edu which authenticates that they are genuine online universities. But the best way to confirm the accreditation of an online college or university is to check with the US Department of Education.
Currently, there are six higher education regional accrediting agencies which are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. These U.S. regional accrediting agencies are:
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Higher Education
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education
- Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Colleges
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities
There are also many other national, professional and specialized accrediting bodies that are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. They provide accreditation, guidance and quality assurance roles for distance and online learning institutions, foreign learning institutions and training providers.
If you are planning to pursue your degree online, spend some time to check and confirm the accreditation of your selected online college or university. And make sure the organization that provides the accreditation to the college is recognized by US Department of Education. Take these precaution steps in advanced are better than regretting it later when you are holding a helpless "fake" degree.