What is an Accredited Program, and Why You Should Get One

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By Jacob Maslow

In education, the term “accredited program” holds great significance. But what exactly does it mean, and why should you pursue an accredited program? Today, we’ll talk about the concept of accreditation. 

Accredited programs undergo rigorous evaluation by external accrediting bodies to meet quality standards. By opting for an accredited program, you can receive a high-quality education. As a result, you can expect seamless credit transfer. 

Keep reading to discover the meaning and benefits of accredited programs.

1) What is an Accredited Program?

An accredited program is a specific educational program evaluated by an external accrediting body. For example, an accredited MBA program has met the standards predefined by the accrediting body for business education. These standards often include criteria related to curriculum and faculty qualifications.

Accreditation of a program serves as a validation of its quality. It ensures that it meets the expectations of employers and industry professionals. It signifies that the program provides a concise curriculum and employs qualified faculty. 

It also offers adequate resources and support for students. Accredited programs also often have established relationships with industry partners. This allows students to access networking opportunities, internships, and career placement services.

Accreditation enhances the degree’s value and increases graduates’ credibility in the job market. It also facilitates credit transfer and recognition, allowing students to pursue further education.

Students in accredited programs typically follow a six-step journey. For example, an accredited MBA program would include a comprehensive curriculum, qualified faculty, student support services, rigorous evaluation, industry recognition, and transferability to further education. 

2) Why Should You Get One?

Getting an accredited program offers several significant advantages. Here are some vital reasons you should strive to pursue an accredited program.

a) Quality Assurance

Accreditation serves as a mark of quality assurance. Accredited programs have undergone rigorous evaluation to ensure they meet industry-recognized standards. This way, you can receive a high-quality education aligned with established benchmarks.

b) Industry Recognition

Accredited programs are recognized and respected by employers and industry professionals. Graduating from an accredited program enhances your credibility in front of potential employers. Accreditation demonstrates that you have the necessary skills to excel in your field.

c) Transferability of Credits

Accreditation simplifies the process of transferring credits between educational institutions. If you decide to switch programs or transfer to another institution, having credits from an accredited program can be helpful. This flexibility can save you time, money, and effort in the long run.

d) Financial Aid Opportunities

Accredited programs can make you eligible for financial aid through scholarships, grants, and loans. Some scholarships, loans, and grants are only available to students enrolled in accredited programs. An accredited program can open access to funding opportunities to support your education.

e) Networking and Career Opportunities

Accredited programs often have strong connections with industry partners and alumni networks. These connections provide valuable networking opportunities, internships, and access to job placement services. Graduates from accredited programs may have an advantage in securing internships or jobs.

f) Continuous Quality Improvement

Accredited programs are committed to continuous improvement. They regularly assess and evaluate their curriculum, teaching methods, and student outcomes. This helps them stay current with industry trends and meet student needs. By choosing an accredited program, you can receive an education that constantly improves for the ideal learning experience.

3) Who Grants Accreditation?

Independent accrediting bodies or specialized agencies grant accreditation. The specific accrediting bodies can vary depending on the country and the program in question. Here are some common examples:

a) Regional Accrediting Bodies

In the United States, there are multiple regional accrediting bodies. That includes:

  •       Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  •       Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  •       New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  •       Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  •       Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  •       Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

These bodies evaluate and accredit higher education institutions within specific regions. They evaluate the institution’s mission, governance, financial stability, faculty qualifications, and more. Regional accreditation is the most comprehensive and widely-recognized accreditation for higher education.

b) Professional Accrediting Bodies

Certain fields have specialized accrediting bodies that evaluate programs in those specific disciplines. For example, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) accredit business programs. They evaluate the quality of the business curriculum, faculty qualifications, research opportunities, and industry partnerships. 

4) Criteria for Accreditation of Programs

Accrediting bodies use various criteria to assess the quality of an educational program. These criteria ensure the program meets industry standards and prepares students for success. Here is an explanation of some common criteria.

a) Curriculum

The curriculum must be comprehensive, up-to-date, and aligned with industry standards and practices. Accrediting bodies assess the program’s learning outcomes, course offerings, and sequence. They also evaluate the integration of theory and practical application.

b) Faculty Qualifications

The qualifications of faculty members are also examined. They must have the necessary expertise, educational background, and experience. Accrediting bodies consider degrees held, industry experience, scholarly activities, and ongoing professional development.

c) Student Support Services

The availability and quality of student support services are assessed. The institution must provide academic advising, career counseling, tutoring, libraries, and research materials. Accrediting bodies look for evidence of institutions fostering a supportive learning environment.

d) Facilities and Resources

The institution’s physical infrastructure, learning resources, laboratories, and technology are vital. Accrediting bodies examine whether the facilities are adequate to support the program’s objectives and needs of students.

e) Institutional Governance and Administration

The leadership, policies, and procedures of the institution are also reviewed. This ensures effective management and accountability. Accrediting bodies assess institutional mission, governance structure, financial stability, and faculty governance. They also examine student feedback mechanisms and the institution’s commitment to continuous improvement.

Accrediting bodies conduct a thorough evaluation process. This may include site visits, document reviews, and self-study reports by the institution. The evaluation process helps assess the program’s compliance with quality standards.


An accredited program is an educational program evaluated by an accrediting body. It signifies that the program meets established standards of quality and effectiveness. 

Accreditation enhances the credibility and recognition of your degree. As a result, you become more valuable to employers and other educational institutions. It opens doors to opportunities and increases your competitiveness in the job market.

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