Spotlight on Education: Understanding educational accreditation levels

By Special to GUIDONMarch 15, 2018

Spotlight on Education: Understanding educational accreditation levels
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

In the education field, accreditation is the process colleges, universities and other degree-granting institutions go through in order to ensure the education provided meets acceptable standards of quality. This means the school you are currently attending is of high enough quality that other colleges, universities and other degree-granting institutions will accept work done there either as transfer credits or to allow the student to pursue a higher degree.

According to Brian Jungen, Truman Education Center counselor, there are two main types of accreditation; regional and national.

"In education, regional accreditation is the highest level of accreditation. As long as the classes involved are comparable, classes at one regionally accredited university will generally transfer to another regionally accredited university," Jungen said. "With national accreditation, that is not necessarily the case. Regionally accredited universities do not have to accept credits from a nationally accredited school."

He added, "it is possible to obtain a bachelor's degree from a nationally accredited school and then not be able to pursue a master's degree at a regionally accredited school because they will not accept the degree as being valid."

Jungen stressed, that the importance of accreditation should not be understated. The value of both tuition assistance and the GI Bill can run in to the hundreds of thousands of dollars. You do not want to waste your time, effort and benefits on a degree that may, in some cases, turn out to (not count for anything.)

Even if a nationally-accredited school offers you a quick and easy path to a degree, it may not be in your best interest in the long run. Never say, "Oh I know I will never need another degree," and use your benefits at a nationally-accredited school, only to find later in life that in order to get a promotion, you need a master's degree.

You may have to use more of your benefits taking more classes to make up work that was not accepted because of the lower accreditation of your previous school.

"When choosing a college or university it is important to know which kind of accreditation the school of your interest offers. Sometimes schools do not advertise their accreditation and make it very unclear to understand," said Karla Hope, Truman Education Center counselor. "One simple way to find out is to contact the school directly. You can call their admissions or registration department and simply ask. Another way to find out is by going to the U.S. Department of Education website, there you will find more information about the types of accreditation offered by educational institutions and programs in the U.S."

We encourage our service members and their families to visit the Truman Education Center if they have any questions regarding accreditation.

For an appointment or more information, call 573.596.0172.

Related Links:

Fort Leonard Wood on Flickr

Fort Leonard Wood Guidon Newspaper

Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood