Accreditation: The What and Why

Accreditation – noun 1. official recognition of a school by an association 2. affirmation that a school provides quality education 3. means of showing confidence in school’s performance

What does it mean to you?

Accredited schools provide assurance of quality education and verify that the school has met certain educational standards. Attending college at an accredited school will help ensure that you can transfer credits to a university and obtain financial aid such as student loans and scholarships. In addition, earning a degree from an accredited school helps when applying for jobs. Employers will often look at what schools you attended and if they are accredited.

What should you look for?

Regional accreditation - At a minimum, your potential community college should have regional accreditation. There are six different regional accrediting organizations in the United States:

Community colleges are accredited by one of the organizations above. You can find accrediting information on the college’s web site. Be careful if a college says that are accredited by an organization that is not on the above list. They could be “accredited” by an organization that is not recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

National accreditation – Some community college business departments will be nationally accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). This is an additional accreditation that can be earned specific to business departments only. It is not necessary that a community college have national accreditation but this accreditation can signify that a college has completed extra certification specific to the business discipline.