Online instructional programs should be accredited by a recognized accrediting agency such as CITA, NCA, or SAS. Since the late 1800’s, American schools and colleges have had their trustworthiness and quality validated through accreditation. The value of being accredited is that the quality of online education is validated through independent, self-study and on-site evaluation by educational professionals. As a result of the accreditation, the online program is more focused on improving student achievement.
Accreditation assures parents and the public that the online program is focused on raising student achievement, providing a safe and enriching online learning environment, adhering to high quality standards based on the latest research and successful professional practice, and maintaining an efficient and effective operation. Accreditation also extends across state lines, thus facilitating a consistent program for all U. S. students.
Accreditation provides the instructional staff with a proven process for raising student achievement. Online learning programs benefit from multiple resources including publications, current research, manuals, software, professional development, and conferences. Through the accreditation process and resources, online programs improve their ability to analyze data and make sound educational decisions based on that data.
In addition to raising student achievement, accreditation eases the transition of students as they move from one online program to another accredited online program or into a traditional school program. The regional nature of accreditation allows a receiving program in the same or another state to assess the quality of the online program and accept the incoming student’s credits and academic record. This ease of transfer applies across the nation through reciprocal agreements among the regional accrediting agencies.