SolveYourProblem Article Series: Online Degrees
Is An Online Degree Program For Me?


     Why Should I Research Accreditation For My Online Degree?

The online school you are looking into is accredited. Why is that important? That means the school promises that it is nationally recognized and can provide you with a legitimate degree in the subject of your choice. Along with your certificate, they even offer to provide references to your potential employers.

Thereís nothing to worry about, right? Think again. The more people communicate with each other online, the more networking involved, the more people can be scammed out of their money if theyíre not careful. Thatís why itís important to get the facts.

Diploma mills, unlike legitimate online colleges, are companies that sell bogus degrees over the Internet, with little or no attention to whether or not the graduate is qualified. These companies prey upon the ignorant and uninformed. They will charge a few hundred dollars and offer no refund when the graduate discovers the degree is invalid. Most of the time, they canít even be found again.

Just when you think morality is prevailing and people are being made aware of these dishonest pseudo-schools, another clever move is made by the marketing sharks to deceive more aspiring students. Why, many phony universities are now claiming they have accreditation (meaning a the act of granting credit or recognition).

What does accreditation really mean? In the United States, the Council for Higher Education Accreditations (CHEA) is an association of 3000 degree granting colleges and universities and commissions its six agencies to evaluate the standards of an educational institution every couple of years. Degrees are transferable and recognized when accredited by this association.

The Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) is another agency that accredits schools and itís recognized by the federal Department of Education.

Many diploma mills will create a bogus accreditation in an attempt to lure more buyers. It may sound official and the website may boast, ďOur programs are fully accredited.Ē But that amounts to self Ė accreditation. Others might try and put the accrediting organization outside of the country. These self-created accrediting organizations are usually run out of a postal box and cannot produce any real degrees of merit. A fraudulently accredited degree is worse than no degree at all. The accrediting agency should be recognized by USDE or CHEA. If a school claims accreditation and it is not associated with an agency of USDE or CHEA, then accreditation claim is probably false.

Also keep in mind that just because a school is not accredited doesnít necessarily mean itís a scam. Some unaccredited schools offer a variety of learning courses that can be helpful and are fairly priced. Others schools might be seeking recognition from USDE or CHEA but are not yet affiliated. Until that recognition comes, they are offering an alternative to traditional accrediting agencies. Nevertheless, these schools are few and in between and the majority you will find are diploma mills.

Sometimes researching the legitimacy of a schoolís accreditation can be as simple as typing the name into a Google search. A companyís reputation builds fast, especially with the advent of the Internet. A few moments spent researching a company online can make you aware of any problems or reported disputes going on.

Yes, obviously the worst-case scenario has happened before. Some employers have been fooled into believing a fake degree is legitimate and have hired someone unqualified. Firstly, these relationships usually donít last long. Once it is discovered a degree is fraudulent, the employee is fired and the hiring company leaves itself open to embarrassment and legal liability. Secondly, there is an issue of ethics to be considered. Real colleges, whether on campus or legitimately accredited online schools, are expensive and require lots of hard work to complete. While it may not be a crime to print out a fake diploma on your own printer and get a friend to pose as a reference (and that is exactly what a diploma mill offers) it is not a smart career move for someone who wants to earn legitimate employment and be considered a professional.

Researching accreditation for your online degree is important. Itís a decision that will cost you a lot of money and a lot of time and effort. Researching accreditation is worth doing, because it will save you the embarrassment of finding out that a hundred dollar certificate is worth nothing in the real business world. Itís important that your online degree be accredited and that your education be honorable. Why? Because serious online colleges remain for the most part untested. The fewer pretenders there are, and the more online graduates who can prove themselves as competent as a traditional college graduates, the more respect the online degree will earn.

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