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What Accreditation Agencies Are There?

To ensure that your degree will be recognized as legitimate by employers, the program in which you enroll must be accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Both organizations keep a comprehensive list of all accrediting agencies on their websites. The lists include regional, national and programmatic accreditation agencies, and the recognized agencies have approved more than 7,000 institutions in the United States, according to Bachelordegrees.net.

There are accreditation agencies representing six regions of the United States: New England, North Central, Middle, Southern, Western and Northwest. Most traditional colleges and universities are accredited by one of these regional agencies. National agencies accredit schools in all areas of the United States and have sometimes been formed to provide accreditation to schools that do not fit into the traditional regional mold. Online schools, because they enroll students worldwide and have no central campus, do not fall into a regional area and are often accredited by national agencies. The Distance Education and Training Council is a commonly used accreditation agency for online schools.

Programmatic accrediting agencies evaluate particular programs that fall into a specialized discipline. For example, the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and the National Association of Schools of Theatre accredit programs in particular areas within the arts. The American Bar Association is the accreditation body for law schools and the National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences accredits professional programs in cosmetology.

The following is a list of all accreditation agencies that are recognized by CHEA and the Department of Education. When searching for accredited MBA programs online, the first thing to check is whether the program has been accredited by one of these agencies. Another accrediting agency that students should know about is the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), which is covered later in this chapter.

Regional and National Accrediting Agencies:

Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools
Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges
Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training
Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools
Council on Occupational Education
Distance Education and Training Council, Accrediting Commission
Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Middle States Commission on Secondary Schools
New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education
New York State Board of Regents, and the Commissioner of Education
North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission
North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement, Board of Trustees
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, Accreditation Commission
Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities

Recognized Programmatic Accrediting Agencies:

Arts and Humanities

National Association of Schools of Art and Design, Commission on Accreditation
National Association of Schools of Dance, Commission on Accreditation
National Association of Schools of Music, Commission on Accreditation
National Association of Schools of Theatre, Commission on Accreditation

Education Training

Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education, Commission on Accreditation
National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
Teacher Education Accreditation Council, Accreditation Committee

Legal

American Bar Association, Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar

Community and Social Services

American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education
Association for Biblical Higher Education, Commission on Accreditation
Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc., Accreditation Commission
Association of Advanced Rabbinical and Talmudic Schools, Accreditation Commission
Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools
Commission on English Language Program Accreditation

Personal Care and Services

American Board of Funeral Service Education, Committee on Accreditation
Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation
National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences

Health Care

Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education
Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education
Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools
American Dental Association, Commission on Dental Accreditation
American Dietetic Association, Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education
American Occupational Therapy Association, Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education
American Optometric Association, Accreditation Council on Optometric Education
American Osteopathic Association, Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation
American Physical Therapy Association, Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education
American Podiatric Medical Association, Council on Podiatric Medical Education
American Psychological Association, Committee on Accreditation
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology
American Veterinary Medical Association, Council on Education
Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs
The Council on Chiropractic Education
Council on Education for Public Health
Council on Naturopathic Medical Education
Joint Review Committee on Educational Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology
Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology
Liaison Committee on Medical Education
Midwifery Education Accreditation Council
National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission