A school accredited by the right agencies can grant degrees that lead to increased income and higher positions. But, a degree that is given by a “fake” school can turn out to be a huge waste of time and energy.  Before you register for classes with any online school, make sure you know the facts about accreditation. Accreditation is the process of reviewing a school’s programs and policies to see if it meets criteria set by an outside agency. It is granted accreditation when a school is found to meet the minimum criteria. Accreditation is meant to protect students, schools, and employers. It ensures that a school is educating its students and meeting quality standards. He can be assured that it will be accepted by employers when a student receives a diploma from a school accredited by the right agency. Likewise, when an employer is looking to hire, she can be assured that a graduate from an accredited school has received the training necessary and didn’t pay for degree from a diploma mill school. Not all accreditation is equal. Accreditation from the wrong source (such as an accreditation mill) can be worse than no accreditation at all.

Online school accreditation basics

Make sure that your online school is accredited by an agency recognized by either the United States Department of Education (USDE) or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). These organizations maintain lists of legitimate accreditors.  Select a school that is accredited by one of the six regional accreditation agencies recognized by both the USDE and CHEA in case you want your degree online to be widely accepted. These are the same agencies that accredit reputable brick-and-mortar schools. Most of the schools online are accredited by the Distance Education Training Council This accreditor is also recognized by the USDE and CHEA. It is recognized by many employers. However, DETC accreditation is not as widely accepted as regional accreditation. Many regionally accredited schools do not accept transfer credits from DETC accredited schools. Use discretion when selecting an online college or university with DETC accreditation. A diploma mill school is a school that sells degrees and requires little to no work of its students. These colleges are either unaccredited or are accredited by accreditation mills.  Many employees have been fired after listing a diploma mill degree in their resumes. Some states even have laws restricting the use of degrees from such schools. Note that not all unaccredited schools are diploma mills. Some of the unaccredited schools are undergoing the accreditation process or choose not to seek accreditation. Using a degree from one of these schools may be difficult – however, that does not automatically qualify a school as a diploma mill.  It may be difficult to use your degree in case you choose a school that isn’t accredited (or is accredited by an illegitimate agency. Few employers will take your degree seriously. You may not be able to transfer your credit hours or degree to an accredited school in addition to this.