What is Accreditation?

Accreditation is a voluntary process through which colleges, universities, and career training schools can publicly document that their education programs meet regional or national education standards for academic quality and is designed to distinguish schools adhering to those educational standards. This process ensures that an institution's certification processes are acceptable, usually meaning that the institution is competent enough to test and certify a third party, that they behave ethically in their certification process, and that they have a certain level of quality assurance. Accreditation confirms that the school has been evaluated by a recognized US accrediting agency and assessed as meeting the same requirements for authenticity and integrity as other schools receiving the same accreditation. 

You can search the US Department of Education's Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs to see if the schools that you are interested in are accredited.

Still confused? Learn more about accreditation and its effect on your education:

View the entire Glossary of College & Education Terms

Updated January 2014