Accreditation is a process by which schools in the United States are evaluated according to particular criteria. Accreditation organizations aim to assure the quality of the education at a particular institution, and to determine whether the degrees awarded by it will hold any value. Accreditation can be given to an entire school or a single program, and there are both national and regional accreditation organizations. Accreditation arose as a way to enact nongovernmental, peer-regulated evaluations of colleges and universities. In the United States, accreditation is done by private organizations rather than the federal government. However, the U.S. Department of Education keeps a record of private accreditation organizations that meet federal standards. Any school that becomes accredited by a federally approved organization will be considered accredited in the United States.
Accreditation helps both students and education institutions judge which schools meet established standards and whether credits from particular schools may be transferred. All students deserve to know that the school they plan to attend will not only be worth their time and money but also provide a meaningful experience, so accreditation is an important part of higher education in the United States.
Check out the following pages to learn more about accreditation:
- How Schools Earn Accreditation
- The Importance of Accreditation
- Research Your School's Accreditation Status