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Accreditation is formal recognition that an entire school or one of its programs of study meets certain standards and provides quality education. It is also some kind of guarantee for that quality. You should ask about the accreditation board of the online university you are interested in. If a school is unable to answer your questions about accreditation, this is probably a sign to seek your online education elsewhere. You are entitled to this information. Moreover, in our highly competitive job market a degree from an accredited institution can make all the difference. So, do not let price be your only guide when you make your choice of school.

In the United States, schools and/or programs of study may be accredited by one of six regional agencies, a specialized accrediting agency, or a state agency. (Note: In Canada, the government regulates all of the schools within a province.) The U.S. Department of Education does not accredit educational institutions and/or programs. However, the Secretary of Education is required by law to publish a list of nationally recognized accrediting agencies that the Secretary determines to be reliable authorities as to the quality of education or training provided by the institutions of higher education and the higher education programs they accredit. Some of the most common recognized accrediting agencies are:

These six agencies cover the major geographic regions within the United States. Other widely recognized national accreditation agencies include the National Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) and the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges & Schools (ACICS). Each agency has its own set of evaluation criteria for accrediting a program or institution.

Online education is not limited by country borders and you may attend a university from another state or even another continent. Here are some global distance learning associations, which can give you information about school accreditation abroad:

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