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What is the Importance of Online University Accreditation?

By Bethany Keene
Updated May 17, 2024
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The importance of online university accreditation cannot be overstated; if a college isn't accredited, a degree from that college may be virtually worthless to other schools and potential employers. Accreditation ensures that the school has been evaluated by an independent board who determines that the professors, classes, etc., are up to the standards of other universities that are both online and off. There are two types of online university accreditation: regional and national. Ideally, an online university should be regionally accredited, which is more difficult to obtain; however, national accreditation is acceptable as well for most employers.

Online university accreditation is one of the most important factors that speaks to the quality of the university. If the institution cannot obtain accreditation on either a regional or national level, this means that the quality of the education is not at an acceptable level. Students can then easily see that they don't want to attend this university, and can keep looking. In addition, students who obtain a degree from a university such as this may find that employers will not accept the degree and will refuse to hire him or her.

Students who wish to pursue additional education after obtaining an associate's or bachelor's degree should keep this in mind too. If the school has not received online university accreditation, it is unlikely that the credits will be accepted at another institution. This means that students may have to repeat classes if credits will not transfer, or may find that they are not eligible to apply for a higher degree program such as a master's because their bachelor's degree is not considered valid. Even though unaccredited online universities or "diploma mills" may offer a way to obtain a degree quickly, if sometimes fraudulently, it may not be worth it in the end if the degree is useless.

The type of online university accreditation that the school has received is important as well. National accreditation is quite common for online universities, especially those without physical brick and mortar locations. Regional accreditation is more difficult to obtain, and is the same accreditation process offered to universities with a physical location, which makes it slightly more preferable when choosing a degree program. International students should be sure to make sure that any universities they are attending online are accredited as well, through a process that is recognized and accepted in their home countries, or the area in which they wish to be employed.

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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