It is important to attend an accredited school because accreditation officially recognizes the quality of the education the school provides. Accreditation keeps schools honest, says TheBestSchools.org. Students can be sure their education meets standards. Some schools do not accept transfer students' course credits from schools that are not regionally accredited, according to ACICS.org. Only students at accredited schools can qualify for federal student loans. Employers may require applicants to have degrees from accredited schools.
Some schools provide solid education, but have programs that are not recognized officially. Degrees in clinical hypnosis and acupuncture may not meet requirements for standard regional or national accreditation but still be worthwhile to certain people. Other schools, sometimes called "degree mills," do not offer the rigor and breadth required for accreditation, TheBestSchools.org explains. Accreditation protects students from unknowingly enrolling in such schools.
Accreditation confers legitimacy on a school, but it is also important that the organization doing the accrediting have the authority to do so, states TheBestschools.org. The U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation determine whether an accrediting agency is capable of doing accreditation. The three types of acceptable accrediting agencies are regional, national and programmatic. National accreditation agencies can be faith-based or career-related. Regional accreditation is the highest level of accreditation.
The process of accreditation involves evaluating the school's curriculum, faculty, resources and graduation rates. It also helps the school assess itself for areas needing improvement and provides a method of change management.