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What You Need to Know About Regional Accreditation

Posted by Saint Leo University | Continuing Education on Aug 10, 2016 10:00:00 AM



Getting a higher level of education is no easy feat. It often requires that you rework your budget, giving up quite a few luxuries along the way, in addition to the amount of time you sacrifice with the people you love in an effort to get where you want to be. But imagine doing all of that and then finding out that your degree wasn’t recognized by the employer or school you are tendering it to. What a heartbreak. Luckily, this is completely avoidable.

Certainly, you are getting a degree to further your studies in an area that you enjoy, but chances are good that you also expect it to help you move forward in your career as well. That is where regional accreditation comes in.

Regional Accreditation – What Is It?

Regional accreditation involves a board of individuals, which includes faculty members from various educational institutions, who are tasked with making sure a particular school, college, or university is providing their students a certain level in regard to education. In other words, the goal of accreditation is to ensure that minimum thresholds are met in regard to curriculum, policy, and procedure.

Currently, there are six regional accreditation agencies as set forth by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. They are responsible for overseeing education-based facilities across the U.S. and their areas are split up geographically, making it easier for them to accredit and compare the centers located within their vicinity.

How Regional Accreditation Differs from National Accreditation

Sometimes it is easy to confuse regional accreditation and national accreditation. While that is completely understandable since they are similar, they are also very different accreditations.

Regional accreditation typically involves non-profit learning centers, like Saint Leo University. However, national accreditation normally refers to for-profit schools that offer technical or vocational training programs.

Why Is Regional Accreditation Necessary?

Regional accreditation is necessary for three reasons. First, it ensures that you are spending your time and money on an education that is worthwhile and respectable, and not on a diploma mill that won’t teach you what you need to know.

Second, it tells future employers and grad schools that you have attained a certain level of education required to be proficient, and even excel in your field. Degrees from regionally accredited agencies are held in higher regards because they have met the accrediting agencies’ rigorous standards.

Third, if you transfer schools, it may dictate how many of your credits go with you as nationally accredited schools typically don’t recognize credits from regionally accredited programs. This is a huge issue as you don’t want to waste your time and effort by having to take a similar class twice just because you’ve changed learning centers.

Determining Regional Accreditation

So, how do you know if the school you are interested in is regionally accredited? Easy. For starters, most regionally accredited schools will have it listed right on their website. They are proud to have met these standards, so they’re more than willing to share that information up front.

That being said, it is always a good idea to double check on your own. You can do that by going to the website for the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and doing a search yourself. They have a database that lists thousands of organizations that are regionally accredited, allowing you to quickly find the one that you wish to attend.

Choose a regionally accredited school for your education so that you can work for the employer you want or go to the grad school that makes you proud. Your future is worth it, don’t you think? We do.


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Topics: Accreditation, Adult Learners