Accredited Correspondence Schools Allow You to Choose Where and When You Learn
When searching for distance learning schools, the first thing you need to look for is accredited correspondence schools. Other schools may give you the training you need, but many unaccredited schools are nothing more than fraudulent diploma mills.
The degree or diploma you get from these schools will not be recognized by current or potential employers. If you don't have any experience to back you up, getting the job you want will be just as hard with one of these diplomas as if you had saved your time and money, and not bothered with the school in the first place.
These days, finding accredited correspondence schools is easier than ever. When correspondence schools were first established, many brick and mortar schools were unaccredited, never mind correspondence schools. Even today, you will find many physical schools without authorized accreditation.
What is Accreditation?
Educational accreditation is a quality assurance process. The services and operations of an educational institution or the individual programs are evaluated by an external agency, to determine if all of the applicable standards are met. If a school meets all of the requirements, accreditation status is granted.
In most countries, the function of granting accreditation is controlled by a government organization, usually the ministry of education. However, in the United States, the quality assurance process is performed by private membership associations, independent of the government.
The US process for accredited correspondence schools was developed after educational institutions realized there was a grave need for standardized requirements, better articulation, and coordination between secondary and post-secondary schools.
The Distance Education and Training Council
Credits received from unaccredited schools basically hold no value. If you get one degree from an unaccredited school, and then decide to go to an accredited school, those previous credits will not count towards graduation. You will have to take those courses over again in order to receive the credit or degree.
In 1926, the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) was established as the National Home Study Council (NHSC). The Council was formed in response to a study conducted by the Carnegie Corporation, which found an astounding lack of standardization in the quality of correspondence schools. The study felt students needed better fraud protection from unscrupulous schools, organizations that offered very little in the form of educational value.
It wasn't until 1959 that the United States Office of Education formally recognized the NHSC as a reputable accreditation agency of higher education institutions. The Council changed to its current name in 1994, and is now recognized as an accreditation agency by both the Council for Higher Education and the US Department of Education.
The DETC claims to be made up of more than one hundred accredited correspondence schools, spread out over 21 states and in seven countries. Members include proprietary schools, non-profit institutions, for-profit companies, trade associations, colleges and universities, as well as military organizations.
The DETC is a national accreditation agency. This is different than regionally recognized accredited correspondence schools. Most schools in the United States, from elementary all the way to the highest educational institutions, are regionally accredited. Some schools with regional accreditation accept and recognize the accreditation of nationally accredited schools, though others do not.
The CEO of Distance Education and Training Council, Michael Lambert, claims approximately seventy percent of graduates from DETC schools are able to successfully transfer credits to other educational institutions.
Finding a School
Some accredited correspondence schools include:
- Kaplan University – As one of the largest online universities with a widely recognized name, Kaplan offers a wide variety of online programs for students looking to efficiently advance their career. Kaplan is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
- University of Phoenix – This school offers an up to date curriculum designed by experts in the field. You can earn your associate, bachelor, masters or doctoral degree. Phoenix is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association.
- Post University – Established in 1890, Post's online programs allow you to obtain a degree from an accredited university, but on your schedule and in a place that is convenient for you. They offer undergraduate and graduate degree programs in a large variety of fields. Post University is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc.
- Dawn Career Institute Online – For more than 30 years, the Dawn Institute has been helping medical professionals advance in their careers. Dawn Career Institute is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.
- Full Sail University Online – Also around for 30 years, Full Sail offers bachelor's and masters degrees in various computer and entertainment related fields. Full Sail University is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.
- Lincoln College Online – This school offers advanced degrees in criminology and health care fields. Lincoln is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc.
- Everest University Online – This school prides itself in preparing students to be career ready upon graduation. Everest is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools to grant diplomas, associate, bachelor and Master's degrees.
- Penn Foster Career School – Penn is one of the world's oldest and largest distance education institutions (also known as the International Correspondence School in the UK and Canada). The school offers more than 80 distance learning programs in today's top career fields. Penn Foster is accredited by DETC.
- Penn Foster College – This is different than the career school. These programs allow you to earn associate's degrees and undergraduate certificates. Penn Foster is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council.
- Stratford Career Institute – Stratford is an innovative leader in distance learning. The school has thousands of students all over the world. It has earned its reputation as a leading authority in career training.
Continuing your education with accredited correspondence schools is the easiest, lest expensive and quickest way to achieve your career goals.
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