Ensure you're getting the best possible education
Accreditation is a process that a school volunteers to undergo, to prove they offer a high-quality education to their students. If a school is accredited by a recognized accrediting body, it means its curriculums meet all applicable standards.
It's just as important for community colleges to be accredited as it is for large colleges and universities. Many community colleges provide their students with licenses to perform their chosen trade, so it's essential that an independent body exists to ensure such schools are qualified to award certificates and licenses.
There are several regional accrediting bodies that oversee the accreditation of community colleges. They include:
- Distance Education and Training Council (DETC)
- Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT)
- Middle State Association of Colleges and Schools (MSACS)
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
- Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges (NASC)
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NESC)
Are Unaccredited Schools All Bad?
There are some instances when it's okay to apply to a community college that isn't accredited. Some of the newest schools aren't accredited yet since they simply haven't been around long enough to go through the whole process. Other schools teach programs that are so cutting edge that the accrediting bodies haven't yet figured out what factors to consider when deciding whether or not to award accreditation. In these cases, it's generally okay to attend an unaccredited school.
However, it's important to be very careful about this. Keep in mind that all credits earned at unaccredited schools are usually very hard transfer to other schools. In addition to this, many employers are hesitant to hire graduates from unaccredited schools.