Who is This Post For?
- Students getting ready to declare a major, especially majors related to health, law, business, engineering, etc.
- Students knowing what they want to major in and needing to choose between a college/university vs. another, all else being equal
- Individuals getting ready to go back to school and invest a significant amount of money in their education
Why is Programmatic Accreditation Important?
- Licensing. Graduating from a program that has discipline specific accreditation can take the licensure exam. This is especially true for Law and some Health programs (physical therapy, nursing, etc.).
- Competitive advantage in the labor market. Graduates of programs that are accredited by programmatic accreditation agencies may have a competitive advantage in the labor market. For example, job ads may require that only graduates from programs accredited by a certain accreditor would be considered for the position.
What’s the Role of Programmatic Accreditation?
Programmatic accreditation or discipline specific accreditation ensures that certain standards of quality are met by programs. Accreditation standards typically refer to faculty credentials, resources available for the program (labs, library, facilities, spaces for clinicals), and overall curricular content. Therefore, programs that secure discipline specific accreditation tend to be perceived as having higher quality, providing graduates with better preparation, and competitive advantage in the labor market.
However, keep in mind that:
- Some disciplines have no programmatic accreditation agencies. Not all disciplines have an accreditation agency. Disciplines such as Mathematics, Statistics, etc. have no programmatic accreditation agency.
- Some disciplines have more than one programmatic accreditation agency. While some disciplines have no accreditation agencies, others have multiple ones. Differentiating between these accreditation agencies for the same discipline may require a bit of research. But, the time invested in research is time well spent. Additionally, most accreditation agencies tend to do a good job explaining their relevance and the value added.
- Most Health programs tend to have at least one programmatic accreditation agency. For example, Nursing has two programmatic accreditation agencies.
How to Find Out If My Program is Accredited
- Google “accreditation agencies for” fill in the discipline: business, nursing, etc.
- Go the accreditor’s website (s) and look for the list of accredited institutions see if your school is in the list. The FAQs’ section may provide additional guidance on how to access the list of accredited institutions.
- Check the institution’s website. If you want to pursue a program that does not have programmatic accreditation, but would benefit from it, contact the institution’s department and inquire about it. On the other hand, if the institution’s website indicates that the program is accredited by the programmatic accreditation agency, but the agency’s website does not include your institution in their listing, contact the programmatic accreditation agency for more details.
- As an FYI here is a link to the list of programmatic accreditation agencies in the USA and around the world.
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