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Educating Students About College Accreditation

Updated on July 6, 2010

College Accreditation

Accreditation of a college or university in America is very important to consider before selecting a school to attend. With so many diploma mills (fake colleges) operating in the United States today, and the Department of Education not acting on shutting down these diploma mills, the future of educating America at the college level will create a domino effect that will seriously impact America's workforce.

In America, there are two types of accreditation, "institutional" and "programmatic". When it comes to selecting a college, ask the academic advisor if the program of study is "programmatically" accredited. Do research about the school online because each program of study is not accredited by the same accreditor. For example, the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (www.aebt.org) accredits only computer science and information technology programs whereas the American Psychology Association (www.apa.org) accredits only psychology programs.

Programmatic accreditation is very important because many companies will only hire graduates who successfully completed a program of study that was programatically accredited. This type of accreditation is also important because it will ensure that students enrolling in these programs of study will be prepared to take professional state board licensing examinations after successful completing their program. For example, psychology majors who have completed a bachelors degree program must first pass their state board psychology licensing examinations before they can practice psychology in the United States and completing a programatically accredited psychology program will equip them with enough theory and practical knowledge to pass their licensing examinations.

Many psychology programs that are offered by for-profit colleges and universities such as the University of Phoenix and American Intercontinental University are not programmatically accredited by the American Psychology Association (www.apa.org) so before attending a college or university, please check with the college first to see if your program of study is programatically accredited.

Institutional accreditation is another type of accreditation and it is put in place only for a college or university to receive federal financial aid money that comes in the form of pell grants and student loans (subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans). This type of accreditation ensures that the college or university is in compliance with federal regulations and it is not beneficial, whatsoever, for college students.

The Department of Education should do away with institutional accreditation and only keep programmatic accreditation. It's scary that the DOE allows accreditation to be voluntary instead of mandatory because voluntary accreditation means that a college or university that operates on U.S. soil does not need to be accredited. Voluntary accreditation also opens the doors for fake colleges and universities to operate in the United States.

Before selecting a college or university to attend, make sure that the program of study you are interested in is programatically accredited.

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