By DeVry University
You've likely heard of accreditation and accredited college courses, but you may be wondering what those terms actually mean. In truth, “accredited online college courses” can be a bit of a misnomer. In fact, oftentimes it’s actually the schools themselves that get accredited, not their courses.
If you're looking to enroll in an online college course, then it's important to determine if it’s offered by an accredited institution. Doing so helps you know that you'll be receiving a high quality of education that has been vetted by outside organizations.
In this article, we'll look at some of the questions you might have about accredited online college courses as we go through the following sections:
What is an Accredited Online Course?
As we mentioned, in many cases, the courses themselves may not actually be accredited. A better place to start is to look at whether or not the school you are interested in has been accredited.
If an online college is accredited, you can rest assured the education you receive meets high quality standards and the concepts taught will be up to date and relevant to today's job market. Taking some time to educate yourself on what accreditation means, as well as the accreditation process, can help you understand more benefits of earning your degree from an accredited institution.
How Do You Know if an Online College is Legitimate?
Start by doing your research, which includes checking to see if the institution is accredited. Many schools will openly say what organization they’re accredited by and will often mention it on their website in multiple locations. You can also search for the name of the school you want to verify on ed.gov.
Are Online Degrees Accredited?
It depends. While a university’s accreditation is often at the institutional level, sometimes individual degree programs may hold specific programmatic accreditations as well. This means that an industry-specific organization, such as the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), reviews a program to make sure that it teaches students relevant, high-quality content that meets the standards of the industry. At DeVry, for example, some of our programs in fields such as business, engineering technology, accounting, human resources, project management and health information management have earned programmatic accreditation.
Why is Accreditation Important?
Accreditation is important for a variety of reasons. It assures you that the education you receive from an institution meets a high standard of quality and approval.
Becoming accredited requires a college to go through a rigorous review process and make a commitment to maintaining those standards year after year. This involves adjusting their curriculum to adapt to industry changes or advancements.
The quality education you receive from an accredited university may also come into play when searching for a job. In addition to your abilities and overall culture fit with a company, a potential employer may appreciate the fact that the online college program you completed was through an accredited institution.
Accreditation also plays a part in the school’s ability to receive grants, loans or other federal funding. This financial assistance may help lower tuition costs for qualifying students and allow access to a greater diversity of financing options.
How Do You Find Good Accredited College Programs?
If you’re wondering where to begin when looking for schools, a quick Google search is always a good place to start. There are many reputable organizations that develop annual lists that rank colleges and programs based on certain criteria.
In a study of America’s Best Online Learning Schools in 2022, for example, Newsweek and Statista ranked DeVry University among “America’s Top Online Colleges.” This particular list was developed based on survey responses from over 9,000 online learners, as well as additional research.
Once you find a school that interests you, visit their website to learn more about their accreditation status. You can also search for the school on ed.gov.
Learn from an Accredited University at DeVry
At DeVry University and our Keller Graduate School of Management, we’re proud to be accredited by the Higher Learning Commission1 (HCL). We offer a variety of online programs to help you pursue your goals, with classes starting every 8 weeks.
1DeVry University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), www.hlcommission.org. The University's Keller Graduate School of Management is included in this accreditation.