Many colleges and universities have installed online programs and welcomed tens of thousands of students who want to earn degrees outside of the traditional classroom. These students may work full or part time and their career goals often vary, but they generally choose to study online for the same reason: the convenience offered through online learning. Being able to access homework, take tests, and study at any time, day or night, makes earning a degree online the right choice for them.
Why is Accreditation So Important?
Sorting through one’s options to choose the right school for online learning can be overwhelming. Finding the right program for your future that fits within your price range is a challenge. Unfortunately, people are finding that not all programs that are advertising online are legitimate. In fact, many of them don’t have recognized accreditation.
Accreditation means that a college’s programs are verified by an external authority that guarantees that certain educational standards are being met. The accreditation process is rigorous and must be repeated about every 10 years to ensure excellence at colleges and universities. This is a mark of quality for a program, and students should look for it in any program they consider, just as employers look for accredited programs when viewing resumes. Additionally, when you begin searching for an online degree, you should know what to look for when an online program is labeled “accredited.”
How to Find an Accredited Online Program
- Go to a trusted source. The U.S. Department of Education and the Council of Higher Education Accreditation each have up-to-date information about legitimate—and not-so-legitimate—reporting agencies. On the U.S. Department of Education’s website is an accreditation database. If you look up “Lindenwood University,” for example, you will see that it is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools of The Higher Learning Commission.
- Don’t rely on names. Although an accrediting agency has an official-sounding name (for instance, the American Colleges and Universities Group) that agency may not actually be a legitimate source. There are both national and regional accrediting agencies, which can confuse would-be students. Don’t hesitate to call the accrediting association in your area to find out more.
- Professional associations are key. If you are considering an online degree, look at the website of a related industry group. They often list accredited programs that are within the United States.
Lindenwood University Online is continuously accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, and by ACBSP (Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs). Our three undergraduate and seven graduate online programs are taught by Lindenwood University faculty and focus on both practical and theoretical components. Contact us today for more information.