Certification/Accreditation of Distance Learning Institutions & Programs
Will potential employers respect your online qualification? Is it possible for you to move online credit scores to a different institution? Can you have confidence in your chosen online program to give you a thorough and valuable learning experience? To have answers to these questions, you need to deeply comprehend or understand accreditation and its entire process. The below piece will arm you with the fundamental information necessary to make intelligent decisions about your choice of course or program.
The meaning of accreditation
In simple terms, accreditation is an authentication process involving the assessment of course organizers against stated standards to guarantee a high degree of quality. Government is responsible for the accreditation of higher institutions in the majority of countries worldwide. The situation is different in the US where the federal government does not regulate higher education. The country uses a peer-assessment process where different faculties from already certified/accredited schools evaluate institutions seeking accreditation or renewal.
There are varying standards for assessing these schools but generally, they validate – goals/ objectives, minimum admission requirements, allocation of resources, support programs and standard of faculty and academic offerings.
Why you should take Accreditation or Certification serious
Being informed about an institution’s accreditation status can hint you about the standard and value of the course you enrolled for. If you enroll for a course in a non-accredited school, you may discover that many employers do not recognize or accept such a qualification or that you can’t send/transfer your transcripts to other institutions.
You must know that some schools use the word ‘accredited’ loosely thus it is necessary to learn what to check when verifying the accreditation of an establishment. It is important for every institution both online and offline to publicly offer all details about their accreditation to potential students. Firstly, you have to note the language or words employed. Ideally, documents have to explicitly declare the institution as accredited and state the accreditation body.
Is the accreditation of distance learning schools different from non-distance learning institutions?
In a way, it is and in another way, it is not. Most accreditation agencies (and governments) set the same level of standards for universities and degree-awarding distance learning schools and the other institutions of higher learning. Also, they have realized the need to adopt some standards which apply to conventional institutions to distance learning schools to help them maintain a great level of education. For instance, one of the standards for distance learning schools deals with faculty support and the availability of the needed facilities and resources for efficient teaching from afar.
However, accreditation for the government or privately run non-degree and diploma programs, accreditation is not a compulsory process.
Does Accreditation guarantee Top level Education?
No! The fact that a school is accredited does not imply that you are certain to enjoy first-class education. It only tells you that the resources and infrastructure necessary for standard learning are available. Getting the optimum from these facilities entirely depends on your effort.
Additionally, there are cases whereby two accredited schools won’t accept the transfer of credits between each other. Also, the possibility of transferring credit scores may depend on your past and current education, training, and GPA.
How bad is non-accreditation?
It is not bad at all. That an institution is non-accredited does not negate their legality or make them poorer in terms of delivery. An example is the case of creative unorthodox institutions that may have genuine reasons for not seeking accreditation. Also, a few schools that provide only vocational/professional programs may not be obliged or qualified to apply for accreditation from the government or national bodies.
Thus, there is a high possibility that what influenced your decision to enroll for distance learning may determine how much you value accreditation. An example is if you are applying for an online MBA program, it may make you desire a college or university that has accreditation. If all you need is to master word processing, you are likely to be satisfied with a non-accredited online training school.
When deciding on the perfect online program for you, it is essential for you to put your needs, goals and the accreditation status of the school into serious consideration.