Accredited Online Courses with School Options

Online courses are offered by many types of schools and in many subjects. Learn how to determine if a school is accredited, and find out why accreditation is important.

Essential Information

There are many schools that offer online courses in a variety of subjects, but not all are accredited. Accreditation means that an educational authority recognized by the U.S. Department of Education has determined that programs at the school meet the authority's academic standards. Online course credits earned through accredited schools are more likely to be transferable to other schools.

Non-accredited schools may offer online courses, but these courses either do not meet the standards of an accreditation agency or have not been reviewed by an accreditation agency. There are several resources available to help students determine if a school is accredited, and if the organization giving the accreditation is recognized.

School Options

Accredited online courses are offered at many public and private universities, community colleges, online institutions and vocational schools. The type of courses that students seek dictates what type of school best suits their intended outcome. For example, while community colleges offer some courses and degrees online, they don't offer graduate degrees; similarly, students choosing to take a course or two for their own satisfaction may not qualify for a 4-year university, or want to hassle with the admissions process.

Finding Accredited Schools

Students can find schools offering accredited online courses by visiting individual school websites or by visiting the National Center for Education Statistics' College Navigator website, which is a search tool that allows students to search for schools based on location, degrees awarded and distance learning options, among other criteria. Additionally, accreditation status is listed in each school's profile.

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