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What are Accredited Online Schools?

By R. Anacan
Updated May 16, 2024
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Accredited online schools are those that have chosen to undergo the voluntary process to have their schools accredited by a recognized agency or authority. Accreditation is the means by which schools are evaluated and certified as meeting minimum standards of academic quality, excellence and legitimacy.

In many nations the accrediting process is ministered directly by a government agency or ministry. In the United States, the accreditation process is not done directly by the U.S. Department of Education. Rather, accreditation is given through private agencies that have been approved by the U.S. Department of Education or by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), a private organization.

Online remote or distance learning programs have grown in popularity,as many adults have chosen to resume or begin their college education to further career or personal goals. Online schools have proven to be a convenient, effective and efficient way for students to obtain the education they need or desire that works around their schedules.

Accredited online schools are important because the accreditation offers legitimacy to the school and to the degrees and diplomas that it awards to its students. A diploma or degree from a non-accredited school may not be accepted as a legitimate diploma or degree from other schools or even employers. This is especially important for students who are enrolled in adult education distance learning programs to further their careers. While an education and a degree from a non-accredited school may be enlightening and personally profitable, it may not yield the desired professional result.

Those looking for accredited online schools should be aware that many schools that claim to be accredited may be accredited by an organization not officially recognized by the proper authority. It should be noted that this does not mean that these schools provide an inferior education or are purposely trying to mislead students. However, an accreditation by one of these organizations may not hold the same weight or legitimacy as one by a fully recognized accreditation organization.

Students desiring accredited online schools can ensure the schools they are considering are officially accredited by checking the website of an approved accreditation agency and seeing if the school is listed. Approved accreditation agencies can be found using most internet search engines. Those considering online schools can also check to see if the agency that provided an accreditation to a school is approved by checking a listing of officially approved accreditation agencies. Approved agencies can also be found through most internet search engines as well.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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