Regional vs National Accreditation

Accreditation plays a significant role in the education sphere since it’s the important quality estimation of any educational establishment. It emphasizes two key aspects – assurance of quality and improvement of quality.

Accreditation means a validation process where the special commission measures all high educational establishments. This commission consisted of professors from different accredited establishments that also develop the accreditation standards.

Regional Accreditation is considered a state and high-class accreditation type; meanwhile, the National type emphasizes profession and income-generating.

Meanwhile, accreditation means the status and the process aimed to comply with high educational establishments with the accrediting councils’ standards. 

Educational establishment accreditation aims to:

  • define whether the intuition satisfies the minimum quality requirements or, maybe, it outreaches them
  • aid the applicants to define what institutions are reasonable to enroll
  • help educational establishments to define the transfer credits admissibility
  • assist the employer to identify the applicant’s qualification and study programs’ effectiveness
  • give a foundation to define whether the majors can get the federal help

There are three types of educational accreditation – national, regional, and specialized. Below, we’ll discuss the first two types and find out their pros and cons.

The regional type of accreditation

When Americans are asked if they’ve studied in an accredited educational establishment, in most cases, they speak about the institutions with the regional type of accreditation. The word “regional” in this phrase signifies relation to the area where the specific accrediting organization works. This accreditation type is widely acknowledged in the sphere, and the statistics only prove it – there are over 80% of all American colleges of regional accreditation kind. Moreover, a significant number of online educational establishments have regional accreditation.

In the USA, six principal bodies provide regional accreditation: Middle States College and School Association (or Middle State Commission on Higher Education), New England College and School Association, North Central Association, Northwestern Commission of Accreditation, Southern and Western College and School Association.

The national type of accreditation

Compared to the regional type, national accreditation is a rather new phenomenon. Many people get confused by this accreditation kind, thinking that it’s more significant and more acknowledged. But in reality, things are different.

As a rule, educational establishments of the national type of accreditation are institutions with religion or income-generating focus. In these establishments, you can study technical and professional programs and get both degrees and certificates.

The national accreditation type has the following features:

  • it suggests the non-academic orientation
  • its demands are not so standardized compared to the regional accreditation type
  • The Higher Education Accreditation Council also acknowledges some organizations of national accreditation not linked to any particular territory
  • To guarantee that they’ll follow all requirements and standards, the educational establishments of national accreditation pass the check once each 3-5 years

There are two most primary organizations of national accreditation – Career Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission and Training Council & Distance Education. Other national accreditation organizations are the Occupational Education Council, Commission on Accreditation, and Christian Colleges and Schools Association.

How do regional and national types of accreditation vary?

Now, let’s figure out what differs between the national and regional types of accreditation. Below, we’ll name the main features of each of them.

Regional Accreditation

  • The particular regional body inspects the educational establishments
  • In terms of fees, such institutions can be costlier
  • More demanding to applicants
  • Universities are more academic and non-commercial
  • Have to raise money for covering their budget through state scholarships and donations
  • As a rule, institutions with national accreditation take credits from schools of national as well as regional accreditation
  • Academic institutions imply a possibility to apply for plans of corporate tuition reimbursement

National accreditation

  • Accreditation organizations inspect the institutions of similar kinds (like technical, professional, etc.)
  • Institutions with national accreditation are not so high-priced
  • Does not have strict admission rules
  • Mostly, these educational establishments are commercial
  • Make money by students’ intake or trading educational programs. Such institutions can report to shareholders
  • Educational establishments cannot give credits to institutions with regional accreditation
  • Seniors cannot always submit for plans of corporate tuition reimbursement

When choosing the university, you can face the question: national or regional accreditation – where to study better? In terms of academism, we won’t claim that institutions with regional accreditation are better or vice versa. But if going deeper, establishments of national accreditation lose the fight in terms of several pros and benefits.

Institutions of national accreditation type have the following pros. Such institutions are considered the highest benchmark since it’s the high class; it’s the most acknowledged accreditation type; you can easily pass the credits and degrees; you can apply for corporate tuition reimbursement plans, and they offer courses led by the instructors.

As for the cons are the following: studying is highly-priced; you have to spend much time on term papers on human sciences; these institutions can suggest programs with less focus on career; more complicated enrollment rules.

The pros of national accreditation imply fewer fees for studying, fewer term papers on human sciences, more practical and professional-focused programs, and not-so-strict enrollment rules.

As for the cons, institutions with national accreditation willingly enroll the majors from establishments of regional accreditation (it means more battle). Besides, degrees and term papers cannot be commonly recognized for demanding-licensing-after-getting-a-degree professions. Plus, in some cases, you won’t have the possibility to apply for plans of corporate tuition reimbursement, and some courses do not involve instructors; that’s why you’ll have to study by yourself.

Why is academic institution accreditation so important?

You should bear in mind one aspect when choosing a high educational facility – this aspect is a kind of accreditation that this university has on the institutional level.

How to know if my institution has accreditation?

There are several ways to do it:

  • See if your institution has a national or regional accreditation
  • Look through the Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs database and see if the educational facility comes with an accreditation
  • Research if your profession demands a programmatic type of accreditation (it can also be known as professional or specialized)
  • It’s highly recommended to make sure whether the degree has accreditation if you want to build a career in such spheres as medicine, social services, or business

There’s one more tip for you: when choosing the institution, you should consider three key aspects – grant-in-aid, credits’ transfer, and influence on employment.

Now, you know all things about national and regional types of accreditation. So think about the factors you prefer more in studying and choose the university that meets your needs the best. 

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