Online degree programs provide individuals with the opportunity to earn a college degree without leaving their job, their family, or the comfort of their own home. Online degree programs include areas of study such as: finance, healthcare, interior design, journalism, education, computer science, counseling, accounting, business, and psychology. Both bachelors degrees and masters degrees can be earned through online education. Online education offers many advantages such as flexible scheduling, no long commutes to campus, students learn at their own pace, and a great number of colleges and universities offer a wide variety of degree programs from which to choose. However, before applying for an online degree program individuals should ensure that the online degree program is accredited.
Accreditation is important because it signifies that the online degree program meets established educational standards and provides a quality education. Online accredited degree programs guarantee that the individuals enrolled in the program will receive the same quality education online as those in the traditional college setting. If a college or university is not accredited, the students attending that educational institution will not be eligible for federal financial assistance. Since most students depend on federal students loans to pay for their education, choosing an accredited programs is crucial. Accreditation is also important when individuals attempt to seek tuition reimbursement from an employer or want to transfer credits from one college or university to another.
Two of the largest legitimate and nationally recognized accrediting bodies in the nation are the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). There are also six regional accrediting agencies that are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and CHEA. These accrediting associations include agencies such as the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. It is extremely important to make certain that any online degree program for which one applies is accredited through a legitimate and recognized accrediting agency. Online accredited degree programs guarantee the student will receive a quality education.