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The Difference Between Regional And National Accreditation

Updated on December 17, 2011

It is very important that you understand the accreditation of the college, university or trade school that you are looking at attending.

A colleges accreditation can you tell you a lot about the college, their auditing process, and what they had to go through to get their accreditation and what they have to do in order to keep their accreditation in good standing.

There are six accrediting bodies in the United States

  1. Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (New England Association of Schools and Colleges - NEASC-CIHE) and Commission on Technical and Career Institutions (NEASC-CTCI)
  2. Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (Western Association of Schools and Colleges - WASC-ACCJC) and Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities (WASC-ACSCU)
  3. Higher Learning Commission (North Central Association of Colleges and Schools - NCA-HLC)
  4. Middle States Commission on Higher Education (Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools - MSA)
  5. Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  6. Commission on Colleges (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools - SACS)

Regional accreditation is based on which region the colleges' main campus resides in or where they were originally set up. That determines which accrediting body they must go through to get accreditation.

National Accrediting Commissions

  1. Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)
  2. Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS)
  3. Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET)
  4. American Academy for Liberal Education (AALE)
  5. Distance Education and Training Council (DETC)
  6. Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES)

If you want my honest opinion no one accreditation is better, it just depends on what you want to do. I personally prefer "Regionally" accredited institutions over "National".

But National is Bigger Than Regional?

Don't let the words fool you. In the language of accreditation - Regional accreditation is highly considered the "top notch" colleges and universities. Here is a link that you can use to look up any college's accreditation. It can even show you if they are on any type of probation and much more information.


  • click the link above
  • Scroll down to the bottom and click accept
  • Then enter in just the school name in the search. Nothing else is needed.
  • Click search for institutions and then there should be a list of schools with their cities listed, just select the one you want to view.

Learn how Accreditation can affect your ability to transfer college credits. Read my hub The Truth About College Transfer Credits.

What accreditation does your college have?


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