July 28, 2022

College Accreditation: What You Need to Know

By B&SC Blog Team

College Accreditation: What You Need to Know

Are you ready to pursue a career that requires a college education (whether that’s an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree, or even graduate study)? If you’ve always dreamed of becoming a nurse, for example, you’ll need at least some collegiate study to reach that goal.

Other career paths that don’t necessarily require a degree can still benefit from one. It’s possible to work your way up to a position as a hotel manager without a degree, but a college degree will provide crucial training that can help you excel in your work and potentially reach that management position more quickly.

As you set out to earn that degree, though, you’ll want to make sure to choose the right school.

Not every institution of higher education is created equal. It is crucial to look at the accreditation status for colleges and programs, because if the one you pick lacks accreditation, your choice could cause you heartache down the road.

If you’re ready to begin preparing for your future career, make sure you have a good understanding of what accreditation is and how it can make or break your long-term plans.

What is accreditation?

If a college or program is accredited, this means it has been examined by a federally recognized independent agency and found to meet certain standards. The organizations that issue accreditation must be approved either by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or the United States Department of Education-or both. Many colleges and universities elect to undergo the rigorous accreditation process to ensure that they are providing students with a quality education.

What are the types of college accreditation?

There are two main types of accreditation that a college can receive: institutional accreditation and programmatic accreditation. We’ll go into greater detail on both in the sections below, but here are some basic definitions to get you started.

Institutional accreditation applies to an entire institution, essentially verifying or stating that the college or university is recognized as providing a quality education.

Programmatic accreditation is much more limited in scope but can be much more detailed in its analysis. Programmatic accreditation applies to a specific degree program or area of study, such as nursing or occupational therapy assistant. Programmatic accreditation carries the idea of professional or specialized industry approval on a degree program basis. In other words, does the program coursework give students the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the industry?

Institutional accreditation

Institutional accreditation means that every program offered by the college or university has been accredited by a recognized accreditation agency. Two examples of reputable accrediting bodies in the United States are the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

It’s important to know what organization stands behind the accreditation claims of the school you’re considering, because this can affect crucial issues such as financial aid and transfer credits.

Institutional accreditation matters (from the right accrediting body, that is) because it’s a stamp of approval on the soundness of the institution’s educational offerings. In some professional fields and at many graduate schools, one prerequisite for employment or admission is holding an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution.

Bryant & Stratton College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. This accreditation generally satisfies expectations from employers, graduate schools, and financial aid providers looking for institutional accreditation.

Programmatic accreditation

Programmatic accreditation refers to individual programs of study instead of the university as a whole. This means the program you’re considering has been compared to others across the country and been approved. By enrolling in a programmatically accredited program, you can rest assured you’ll learn the skills needed to be successful in the field. Examples of programmatic accreditation organizations include the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).

Ideally, institutional and programmatic accreditation are the standards of excellence you want to pursue when choosing an institute of higher learning. This will afford you the most benefits as you attend, as well as later when it’s time to apply for your dream job.

What are the benefits of accreditation?

Aside from how your credits transfer and how many skills you’ll learn, there are other advantages to attending a college or university that has received either institutional or programmatic accreditation. This includes benefits such as:

  • Eligibility for federal and state-funded financial aid
  • Acceptability of transfer credits
  • Employer recognition
  • Student preparedness

In other words, if you attend an unaccredited school or earn a degree in an unaccredited program, you are likely wasting your money. Employers may not recognize your degree, or worse, you may land your dream job and find yourself woefully unprepared. Accreditation exists specifically to ensure these problems don’t occur. You’ll save yourself a lot of trouble by verifying your college of choice is accredited and has a proven track record of turning out students who excel.

Why choose Bryant & Stratton College?

When it’s time to select a college that will prepare you for the career you plan to pursue, you can feel good choosing Bryant & Stratton College. We are accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education*, and our programs are registered and/or certified by their state education departments, including:

  • The New York State and Ohio Department of Higher Education
  • The Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin Boards of Nursing
  • The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia
  • The State of Wisconsin Educational Approval Program

You can read more about our individual program approvals on our accreditation page, which explains our awards in greater detail.

If you’re considering a career in nursing, medical assisting, or occupational or physical therapy, a Bryant & Stratton education will take you far. Our coursework prepares you to hit the ground running after graduation, and our degrees can help bump you to the front of the applicant list.

View our degrees to learn more about the many majors you can pursue at Bryant & Stratton College, both online and in person at our campus locations. Choose from legal studies, healthcare, education, technology, and more.

*-Bryant & Stratton College is an accredited institution and a member of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) www.msche.org. Bryant & Stratton College’s accreditation status is Accreditation Reaffirmed. The Commission’s most recent action on the institution’s accreditation status on 6/22/2017 was to reaffirm accreditation. MSCHE is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

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