Any student expects that his college degree will be recognized as just that: a respected, legitimate degree. Most institutes of higher learning must meet certain academic, administrative, and operational standards in order to be accredited, or recognized, in this way. However, many distance degree institutions do not go through the accreditation process.
If you are pursuing a distance degree, you can (and should) look into your institution’s standards—you want your degree to have value. Accreditation is perhaps even more important for distance-degree students than for traditional students. Distance degree students are often pursuing their distance studies as a springboard toward advanced studies and better jobs. But credit transfers are virtually impossible to and from non-accredited schools, as is federal funding. Your future employers will not take a non-accredited degree seriously. And along with a potentially valueless degree, you will have a subpar overall learning experience.
Determining Accreditation on Your Own
Sometimes accreditation information can be misleading, or downright phony. Make sure that the accrediting council is one of these recognized councils:
Middle States Association
Northwest Association of Schools & Colleges
North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
New England Association of Schools and Colleges
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Western Association of Schools and Colleges
The Distance Education and Training Council
If you are pursuing a specialized or professional degree in fields like education, business, law, or engineering, your program may need additional, specific accreditations.