“Help! Choosing a college is an overwhelming task. I have a list of more than 20 possible colleges. My career counselor told me national accreditation (like DETC) is not as good as attending a regionally accredited college. Which is better: regional accreditation vs. national accreditation?” – Student


What is Accreditation?

Accreditation is the process used in U.S. education to ensure that schools, postsecondary institutions, and other education providers meet, and maintain, minimum standards of quality and integrity regarding academics, administration, and related services. It is a voluntary process based on the principle of academic self-governance.


Why is Accreditation important?

  1. Accreditation assists prospective students in identifying institutions or programs that meet established standards

  2. Accreditation is often a determining factor in the acceptability of transfer credits

What are the types of Accreditation?

Regional Accrediting Associations accredit institutions that are located within defined groups of states and territories, as well as foreign institutions located in specified countries and world regions which apply for U.S. accreditation. While regional associations inspect and approve all types of institutions, they particularly serve traditional institutions that offer degree programs in a comprehensive range of academic subjects, such as universities and colleges. There are 6 regional accrediting associations.


All ACCEL members are regionally accredited.


National Accrediting Associations accredit institutions located anywhere within the United States or overseas. They concentrate on providing accreditation to institutions offering degree programs in a narrow range of related specialized subjects, or using nontraditional modes of delivery, rather than to comprehensive liberal arts institutions.

Professional or Specialized Accrediting Associations accredit specific programs of study offered within, and by, institutions that are regionally or nationally accredited. Professional/specialized associations do not accredit entire institutions except in a few cases where an institution offers only one degree program in a single subject, and thus accreditation of the program is equivalent to accreditation of the institution.


For additional information about Accreditation and other important education topics, visit the U.S. Department of Education website at