There are two sources of information about accredited universities online; the first being a list published by the United States Department of Education's website and the second being a search for online accredited universities through Pearson's online database. The Department of Education lists schools and programs that have been recognized by one of the approved accrediting agencies in the U.S. It does not include higher education programs that are out of the country.
Peterson's, a leader in online education and digital services for universities, provides a database of schools and programs with online courses and degree programs.
These institutions are accredited by regional and national agencies and are broken down into two categories, those with institutional accreditation and those with specialized accreditation.
Institutional accreditation applies to a school, this kind of accreditation is normally reserved for an institution that provides a complete degree program.
A specialized accreditation focuses on a specific field of study within an institution that has been accredited regionally. There are 50 fields of specialty accreditation that an institution can qualify for. The process can take as long as 10 years to complete and is very detailed, with both the schools and accrediting agency conducting research and studies to determine if the distinction is merited.