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Many people are heading back to school, whether to make themselves more competitive in the job market or to continue up the corporate ladder at their current companies. Although brick and mortar schools are still popular options for the returning student, online colleges are growing in popularity. Online schools offer more flexibility with class schedules, accelerated programs and the ability to complete schoolwork when it is convenient for the student.Another added perk -- since classes are taken from the comfort of home, the student saves on transportation costs such as gas since the student does not have to travel to a college campus to take classes.
When choosing an online degree, prospective students should be careful to pick a school that is regionally accredited, such as the top online colleges. Some online schools will tout national accreditation, which sounds like a good thing; however, regional accreditation is more desirable. Only regionally accredited online degrees and schools are recognized by the Department of Education and the Council on High Education Accreditation (CHEA). There are six regional accreditation agencies that grant accreditation for both online and brick and mortar schools. To find out if the school you plan to attend is accredited by one of these agencies, determine the state in which the school operates, and find which agency grants accreditation in that state.
Colleges and Universities that offer online PhD programs may list the accreditations that they have for the program and for the school. These accreditations and licenses range depending on the program and get become confusing for the student. Students may not know what accreditation to look for or if the accredited organization is a requirement for their degree plan. To simplify the question regarding accreditation and educational licenses the student should keep in mind that it boils down to educational insurance.
If a school has a licensing or seal of accreditation all that is stating is that a particular organization or association is standing behind the program. That seal or licensing is a way of the student to know that the program and the school are both legitimate. The programs that they offer will give the student the education that is considered standard at any degree granting university or college within that region or nation. The student obtains the piece of mind that their financial and time investment into the their chosen PhD is from a university that knows what they are doing.
Students should also remember that the accreditation of the program may not matter. The courses and education received within those courses are what is important. Do research and make sure what backing is necessary before enrolling.