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Accreditation: Understanding the Process and Types of Accreditation


Students heading to college have a vast number of options available, making the school selection process rather daunting. Each student has their own criteria when choosing a school, such as the location, rates, course availability, and etc., but one key point that you should never forget to consider – is the institution accredited?

Are you not familiar with accreditation and what it involves? Voltaire Healthcare Consultant, a premier Health Care Consultant in Miami Gardens, FL, answers some commonly asked questions regarding accreditation, its process, and its different types.

What Is an Accreditation?
Accreditation programs in the United States are evaluation procedures given to schools and institutions. These procedures provide assurance to students that the programs and educational curriculum of their chosen schools are of high quality. It is performed by self-regulatory, non-governmental, and non-profit accrediting agencies. Institutions and accreditors work together to set high standards for faculty, administration, governance, resources, facilities, academics, and student achievement.

Who Are Involved in the Accreditation Process?
There are numerous organizations involved in the accreditation process. This includes the U.S. Department of Education, accrediting agencies, and the organizations that approve accrediting agencies. Furthermore, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the U.S. Secretary of Education distinguish quality accrediting agencies which are responsible for recognizing quality programs and institutions.

What Are the Types of Accreditation?
There are three main types of accreditation, namely:

  • Regional Accreditation. Generally speaking, regional accreditation covers non-profit and degree-granting, public and private, two- and four-year institutions. Regional accrediting agencies each serve a specific geographic region of the United States. There are six regional accreditors that operate in the U.S., namely: Middle States Commission on Higher Education, New England Association of Schools and Colleges, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
  • National Accreditation. National Accreditation focuses on specialized, non-traditional institutions, such as technical colleges, vocational colleges, online universities, and religious colleges. Unlike Regional Accreditation that only focuses on a specific region of the U.S., National Accreditation is nationwide. There are 2 branches of National Accreditation:
    • Career-Related Accreditation. This accreditation mainly suits non-degree-granting, profit, and single-purpose career-based schools.
    • Faith-Related Accreditation. Generally, this accreditation covers non-profit and degree-granting faith-based schools.
  • Programmatic Accreditation. Programmatic Accreditation covers individual departments, schools, and programs within institutions. It has a nationwide coverage. There are some programmatic accrediting agencies that also accredit free-standing, specialized institutions. While Programmatic Accreditation mainly focuses on an individual program, it is significant and respected as a Regional Accreditation. In fact, numerous professional licensures (i.e. those in education, law, medicine, etc.) necessitate applicants to complete specific program content to ensure that they meet the professional licensure requirements.

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