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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Online Education Accreditations - Be Informed

Online education is a relatively new form of education that utilizes modern technology in a way to provide better access to more people. However, thorough research on a program is a must to decide whether the diploma fits your needs.

Even if a specific online education program (any education program for that matter) claims to be "accredited", that is not enough. It is crucial to know whether the University/College is regionally accredited or nationally accredited.

Do not be deceived with how the words 'regional' or 'national' sounds.

Regional accreditation is the highest level within academic establishment that any college or university can receive. For example, all of the University of California branches are all regionally accredited. If you receive a diploma from regionally accredited institutions, and if you want to continue your studies or pursue a Masters at a different college/university, it means that the course/class credit that you have taken transfers over to other universities and colleges. Transferable course credit saves much time and money as you are not required to take beginning courses all over again.

If for example you received an bachelor's degree from a nationally accredited program and want to pursue a master's at a regionally accredited college, you may not qualify as the course credits may not transfer from nationally accredited to regionally accredited schools.

To summarize, regional credits are most likely to transfer well to anywhere. But national credits may not transfer well to regional accredited schools.

However, if one is concerned about the legitimacy a diploma has in the eyes of potential employers, it has been said that some employers (depending on the field) do not know the difference between national and regional as long as they see that the diploma is accredited.

To find out whether an online program is regionally or nationally accredited, information should be available on the program's web site. If not, do a quick web search with the program name and the words "regional accredited". Another way would be to contact the program's office and ask.

When in doubt, choose online education classes from already established Universities or Community College. Always do research about the program you want to go into and make sure it delivers exactly what you need for the long term.

1 comment:

richad said...

This is great information – its encouraging to see online education is becoming
more widely accepted and the benefits are backed up by a range of studies.