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Best Accredited Online College Courses

Best Accredited Online College Courses

Online learning is a trend that continues to gain momentum and there are thousands of accredited online college courses to choose from. The challenge can be trying to surf through teams of information to find the best accredited online colleges!

If you’re going to invest your valuable time and money in online college courses it’s crucial to understand the value of accreditation.

What is Accreditation and Why Does it Matter?

You might be wondering, “What’s the big deal about accreditation? Is it really that important to only look at accredited online colleges?” The answer to both questions is that accreditation should be a key consideration when choosing online college courses.

In a nutshell, a college that is accredited has gone through a voluntary process with an accrediting body that has ensured the school meets its quality standards. In the U.S., there are several non-government, non-profit accrediting organizations with teams of experienced and skilled professionals who review each school.

The process is lengthy and takes 2-4 years. It’s also not permanent. Accredited schools are reviewed every few years to ensure that they continue to meet the standards set out by the accrediting body.

Quality matters of course but it’s not the only reason you should be considering accredited online colleges! Here are three reasons why accreditation matters.

  1. Federal student aid can only be accessed by students who are studying at a college or university that is accredited by one of the federally recognized agencies.
  2. State licensing exams mandate that your degree or certificate program is from an accredited school. Some licensing requirements become more detailed and may require your specific program to be accredited.
  3. Savvy employers recognize the value of accreditation and becoming a graduate of one of the accredited online colleges will place you ahead of others in the competition for jobs.

What Are the Advantages of Online School?

The popularity of online college courses has steadily increased and according to a National Postsecondary Student Aid study, the pandemic saw 84% of undergraduate students report that they moved to online-only in the spring of 2020.  Like working from home, concerns over health and safety may have moved students online, but that’s not the only advantage of online learning.

Flexibility

Taking online college courses means you can study anywhere – at home, library, in a coffee shop, etc. Some courses are synchronous which means you will get together with your instructor and classmates at set days and times on a platform like Zoom. Other courses will be asynchronous which means you will view the material at any time each week without a live lecture.

Affordability

Accredited online colleges can offer courses that are less expensive than those that are delivered on campus. Because the programs are delivered virtually, there are fewer overhead costs for the school, and those savings are passed onto students which is great news in light of the burgeoning cost of education!

Accessibility

The courses that are delivered by accredited online colleges, particularly the asynchronous ones, have a certain ease of accessibility that on-campus programs do not. No trying to rush from home or work to get to class on time. No parking hassles. And for students with disabilities, studying online can mean that significant barriers to education are removed.

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Best Accredited Online Colleges

It would be impossible to outline all the online college courses you can choose from but some accredited online colleges stand out from the rest. Let’s take a look at six of the best accredited online colleges.

1. University of the People 

University of the People offers several accredited certificates, undergraduate, and graduate degrees across a variety of disciplines including computer science, health science, education, and business administration. The University of the People is recognized by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) and has also been recognized as a Candidate for Accreditation by WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). UoPeople is unique in that the courses are not only delivered completely online, but they are also tuition-free! They have further eliminated the traditional barriers to college by lowering admission requirements. Prospective students need only show proficiency in English and possess a high school diploma or equivalent.

2. Western Governors University 

Western Governors University’s online degree offerings are diverse and focus on students interested in careers in IT, education, business, and healthcare. Learning at WGU is competency-based so that students are assured of mastering essential skills and knowledge. This is a decidedly different approach than the traditional focus of accumulating credit hours and fits well with people who have clear career goals in mind.

3. University of Phoenix 

The University of Phoenix has a certificate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs that prepare students for careers in a wide variety of occupations including healthcare, education, and IT. Courses are self-paced which affords each student a great deal of flexibility around when and where they study. The University of Phoenix also offers monthly program start dates.

5. Florida International University

Florida International University is considered Miami’s research university and its degree programs cover a wide range of concentrations that include arts, science, health, education, business, and African studies. FIU has been designated as a top-tier research institution. Prospective students who complete a two-year associate of arts program within a 3-year time frame at a participating college are guaranteed admission into an FIU bachelor’s program.

Source: Pexels

Final Thoughts

Online learning has opened many doors that were previously closed to people. Trying to juggle family and work responsibilities and then rushing off to night school is a thing of the past. Now prospective students can use the internet to search for what accredited online colleges are offering, enroll, and enjoy the flexibility of studying at a time that works best for them.

If you’re considering getting your degree or are interested in a certificate program to advance your career, now is the time to enroll in online college courses!