Accreditation of Online Colleges

Employers may worry about the legitimacy of an online degree, especially if it is from a school they haven’t heard of.  They are right to be cautious, as many "degree mills" exist.

These pseudo-colleges have names that sound like legitimate universities but grant degrees for little more than a fee. If you decide to pursue an online degree, it is important that you attend a well-established and accredited distance learning school.

Why college accreditation is important:

Not all college accreditation associations are legitimate. Just as there are diploma mills, there are also accreditation mills. Diploma mills, ever eager for your cash, have set up accreditation mills. Some colleges and diploma mills create their own accrediting authority and then grant themselves “accreditation”.

How to identify legitimate accrediting agencies:

If you are considering taking online courses we recommend that you look up whether the school you are considering has a legitimate accreditation.

Legitimate accrediting agencies are recognized by two organizations:

There are also six regional accrediting agencies that are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and CHEA. Credits or degrees earned from a school accredited by one agency will be recognized by any school accredited by any of the other agencies.

Listed below are the six agencies, with the states they administer, and a link to a database of the schools that each agency accredits.