What Does Accreditation Mean?

Accreditation is a certification process in which an institution of higher learning can choose to participate. The process involves a lengthy and thorough evaluation of a distance learning institution or program’s curriculum, facilities, academic excellence, philosophy, and more by a recognized accrediting agency. Accreditation is not permanent and an institution must be periodically reevaluated before it will be granted a renewal of accreditation status.

Accrediting agencies use evaluation standards developed by governmental agencies and impartial post-secondary educational professionals. Although there are numerous accrediting agencies operating throughout the U.S., the accrediting process’s primary governing bodies do not accept them all.

Many educational institutions choose to undergo the voluntary accreditation process rather than risk losing prospective students to other institutions that are accredited. Accreditation has become somewhat of a “stamp of approval” that students as well as employers look for when choosing schools and choosing employees.

For students, accreditation is even more: It acts a bit like insurance, protecting them and their investment of time and money by guaranteeing that the education they’ll receive has met stringent standards of educational excellence.