Is Online College For You? Part II

Uncle Sam Wants You... To Go To An Accredited Online College

Uncle Sam Wants You... To Go To An Accredited Online College

Welcome back readers! In the previous post about online colleges, we began to explore the advantages and disadvantages of online college. After considering the convenience, cost, and the nature of the online environment, you have likely started to decide whether online college will meet your academic and professional needs. If the answer is yes, then your next question should be, “How do I pick the right program?” Well, I’ve got good news and bad news.

The good news is: you just need to figure out whether the program you like is accredited. The bad news: there are hundreds of accreditation agencies ranging from the American Psychotherapy Association to the American Psychology Association. Both of these APAs sound good but only one is the real deal. Let’s just say that the former offers a bogus certification in “psychology of terrorism” and “hospital psychology.” What the {expletive}?


Why is Accreditation Important?

The single most important factor to consider when picking an online college is the institution’s accreditation status. The reason this is so crucial is that your future employer needs to insure that you received an education that adheres to the highest ethical and academic standards possible. The last thing you want to do is send your resume to a potential employer and have them scoff at your diploma. Here are 2 steps to prevent that from occurring:


1. Consult Uncle Sam

It would be great if we could skip the middlemen (accreditation agencies) and ask Uncle Sam where to go… but unfortunately the U.S government stays clear of this issue. The U.S Department of Education does however list the most commonly recognized accreditation agencies (available HERE.) They also provide a comprehensive, downloadable excel file that lists every college and the corresponding accreditation agency. I highly recommend you check out the file (available HERE) and cross-reference it with the list of reputable accreditation agencies.




2. Consult Employers

Remember the reason you are entering, or going back to school. It’s not that you love pulling all-nighters and cramming for exams, it’s because you want a better JOB! Therefore, it would be incredibly wise to consult employers in your respective field before beginning online coursework. First use the U.S government sites to confirm your institution’s accreditation status. Next, consult your employer about both the university as well as the accreditation agency. If your employer gives you the green light, go for it!


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