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Why Accreditation Matters (Hint: Respect)

by Kaitlyn Wightman
Marketing Specialist

February 10, 2014

An HR manager has narrowed the candidate pool for a job down to two applicants with nearly identical employment histories. But only one candidate gets an interview. 

Why? Because he or she went to an accredited university. 

Your education says a lot about you, especially in a crowded job market. 

So, What is Accreditation?

Accreditation is the process that validates an institution’s quality of education. Colleges and universities are accredited by one of 19 recognized institutional accrediting organizations

Whether you want to attend a public university, private college, or “not for profit” institution, be sure to research its accreditation. Be wary if a school’s accreditation has lapsed, is under review, or is on probation. 

For degree programs, accreditation is bestowed by one of 60 programmatic accrediting organizations. This accreditation process is entirely voluntary and reflects deeper program quality. For example, many MBA schools are partial to applicants who earned a bachelor’s degree from an ACBSP-accredited business program

Why is Accreditation Important?

You do not have to earn your degree from an accredited college or university—but it does affect your career. 

In many cases, only candidates with degrees from accredited colleges or universities are considered for open jobs.  Many large organizations use parsing software to review resumes and either select or exclude candidates from particular schools. 

Attending an accredited university also improves your ability to transfer your college credits, and it’s definitely a must if you plan to go to graduate school. 

Accreditation for Online Degrees

A common misconception is that online degree programs are not or do not need to be accredited. 

A school’s online degree programs are included as part of its overall accreditation. If an institution is entirely online, still check that it has official accreditation before enrolling. 

Distance learning and online degree programs are held to the same high accreditation standards as traditional “brick and mortar” colleges and universities. 

How Do I Know If My School is Accredited?

To learn if your school is accredited, first check its website. Respected colleges and universities are proud of their accreditation so it will be easy to find. 

For official verification, find the facts at the Council for Higher Education Accreditation’s website. 

Don’t worry, Northern Arizona University is fully accredited. This includes our Personalized Learning competency-based online degrees

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