Welcome to RegionallyAccreditedOnlineSchools.com, where you’ll find everything you need to know about finding and enrolling in the perfect school for you.
Online education is one of the best ways for you to advance your career, increase your job prospects, or even start down an all new career path. As you can take classes and study on your own time and schedule, online courses provide an excellent opportunity for those who need particularly flexible schedules such as parents and those who would like to keep working full-time while studying.
And don’t underestimate the potential financial gains of advancing your education. On average a college graduate earns nearly $1 million more over a lifetime than a high school graduate. Add a master’s degree, and the number goes up another $400,000 over a lifetime.
Read on to find out more about how courses at regionally accredited online schools can change your life for the better.
What are regionally accredited online schools?
Before we start talking about how to choose the right school for you, we must talk about what exactly regionally accredited online schools are. So let’s break down the terms.
“Accredited” means that an independent, non-profit agency has reviewed the school and its offerings and vouches for it as a reputable learning institution. With accreditation comes respect from other institutes of higher learning as well as from employers. That is, your degree from an accredited institution will be accepted by most employers and universities with few, if any, questions as to the validity of the school.
If a school is “regionally accredited,” it means that it has been reviewed and vouched for by a regional accreditation agency. Legitimate regional accreditation agencies are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and/or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA); the following are the six regional accreditation agencies recognized as legitimate and the geographical areas they cover:
- Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges (MSA): Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Central America, Europe, and the Middle East.
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC): Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
- North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA): Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Navajo Nation, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
- Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges (NWCCU): Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.
- Southern Association of Schools and Colleges (SACS): Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Latin America.
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC): California, Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Palau, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Northern Marianas, and elsewhere in Australasia.
If you’d like to know whether a specific school is regionally accredited, check with the agency that covers the state, country, or territory in which the school is located.
What are the differences between nationally accredited and regionally accredited online schools?
As the terms imply, the main difference between the two types of schools is the geographic range involved. Regional accreditation is open only to those in a particular area while national accreditation can be obtained by schools nationwide. National accreditation agencies, including the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) and the
Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), for example, accredit schools in the U.S. and elsewhere.
With both regional and national accreditation, schools voluntarily submit information about their educational programs to the agencies, which then decide whether to accredit the schools.
The main difference for you as a student between nationally and regionally accredited online schools is in the potential for transfer of credits. Nationally accredited institutions often accept credits from other nationally accredited institutions or regionally accredited schools, but regionally accredited schools may not accept credit from nationally accredited institutions. Accordingly, especially if you are considering using your time as a student a building block, you should closely consider which programs will give you the best chance to either transfer or apply your credits to another program.
This includes those of you pursuing an associate’s degree who may want to use credits towards a bachelor’s, and also those of you who are pursuing bachelor’s degrees and may want to someday pursue a master’s degree. Be sure that your future target schools will accept credits or degrees from your first school.
Cost can be another big difference between some regionally and nationally accredited schools with nationally accredited schools often costing much less; there are also great deals to be had at regionally accredited schools, though, so make sure you do a thorough search before enrolling in any program.
Why should you be worried about accreditation at all?
One of the biggest reasons to be concerned with whether a potential school is accredited is that you are more likely to be eligible for federal financial aid by attending an accredited school.
Another huge consideration is that employers generally prefer graduates of accredited institutions of higher learning. They may not particularly care whether your school is regionally or nationally accredited, but they will most likely want to see that it is accredited on some level.
Now that you have some background information on regionally accredited online schools, you can start looking around RegionallyAccreditedOnlineSchools.com for the best program for you. Best of luck in your studies!