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The following is a collection of highly-rated online, accredited degrees from colleges across the nation. Look for additional schools providing accredited degrees through online courses or other related degrees by using the widget to the left or further down. You can also fill out the “Request Information” forms with the links provided and get free information from each school.
Not All Accredited Online Degrees Are Equal: National vs. Regional Accreditation
While national and regional accredited schools are sanctioned by different organizations, there are plenty of schools that are legitimate and offer online degrees. When choosing what school you want to attend, it is important to analyze any credits you already have from a traditional college or university. Regional associations usually will accept credits from fellow schools accredited by the same organization. If you have any traditional post-secondary credits, it is worth exploring schools that are accredited by the same regional organization because you will save money and time on any credits that are accepted by your online degree program.
The primary difference between nation and regional accredited schools is some national accreditation organizations originated accrediting schools that were not legitimate. This is not to be confused with national accreditation organizations that have cropped up to accredit distance learning and online programs. Regional accreditation organizations originated as leagues of the schools in the area, so for a time were looked at as being “better” than nationally accredited schools.
What is most important is to verify your school of choice is properly accredited. Additionally, be sure your school is also accredited in any specialized programs they offer. All of these questions should be quickly answered by any school representative or advisor.
3 Important Questions to Ask About Your Future Accredited Online Degree Program
By whom are you accredited? – As mentioned, any advisor or counselor should be able to answer this. It may also be included in introductory literature on the school or on the school’s website.
How much does this program cost? – You are looking for a bottom line with this question. If the end cost is not doable for you, there’s no purpose in starting the program (which will be a waste of money). The cost structure of a program can be complex, so attend a meeting with a school rep or counselor armed with a notepad and calculator to get an idea of how much you will have to pay and when.
How do classes work? – There are different ways online learning is approached by various schools. Each has their own curriculum and resources. For a community college, you often have access to tutors, study groups and computer labs. The class may have a message board to converse with other students taking the course and for communicating with the professor. Be sure you are comfortable with your specific program and school before committing.
Are Accredited Degrees Online More Expensive?
Accredited online degrees are usually not more expensive than traditional school. They can be cheaper since a student is not dealing with living on campus, meal plans, and the social obligations commonly associated with the traditional college experience.
Most online degrees run from $300-$500 per credit or course and the end total runs anywhere from $30,000-$50,000 for a a complete program. It is important you know all costs of a program up front. Any legitimate school will not be afraid to share a breakdown of tuition costs and any additional fees such as labs. There will be books and perhaps supplementary materials to accompany a course.
The majority of online degree programs offer a payment plan. Whether you are paying out of pocket or with scholarships, grants or loans, this flexibility allows you to figure out how many classes you can take a time and comfortably afford.
How to Tell Your Employer You Have an Accredited Online Degree
As long as you have an accredited degree and are not lying about your qualifications or job experience, you do not have to tell your employer that you obtained your degree online. The degree should appear under the education portion of your resume and sight the school’s name and type of degree. An accredited online degree holds as much clout as an accredited traditional degree. Typically, learning institutions, whether online or brick-and-mortar, are accredited by the same organization if they are in the same region.
Employers are warming up to online degrees. It is now common for employers to encourage their own employees to go back to school due to the flexibility online degrees offer. Remember that you are not scamming anyone or lying about your degree. Your online degree works the same as a traditional degree. Its purpose is to teach you new skills and advance your career. Never feel inferior because you have an accredited online degree, as you have taken the same courses and worked just as hard as someone who attended traditional college.
If your employer inquires about your online degree, always be honest. Never lie or attempt to make it sound as though you attended a traditional school for your degree. Many employers will appreciate the time management skills and dedication it takes for a potential employee to obtain an online degree and tend to other commitments such as a full-time job and family.
What Oversight do Accredited Degrees Online Actually Undergo to Remain Accredited?
Each accreditation organization has their own set of rules and requirements that a school must comply with to become accredited. Accreditation is obtained by the individual learning institution and they choose where they want to apply for accreditation.
A school reviews what organization they want to be accredited by and moves forward, granting the head of the school to make adjustments or improvements that will benefit the school in the eyes of the accreditation committee. After these improvements are made, the school will self-evaluate the curriculum and other regulations before submitting their application to be accredited.
If the school’s application is approved, the school is accredited for anywhere from 5-10 years. After that interval of time, the school must be reviewed again. Rules and requirements are constantly updated by the various accreditation organizations, so schools will likely revamp and improve when it is due for an accreditation renewal. Find out more about the accreditation process here.