When you are researching which college or university to
attend, accreditation is arguably the most important aspect to look for. A school’s accreditation status is what ensures that you’re getting an education that meets quality standards. Institutions are accredited based on adherence to academic standards, and it is required for participation in federal and state financial aid programs and credit transfer. But what goes into the accreditation process, and what are Notre Dame College’s accreditations?
What Is Accreditation?
The goal of the United States’ third-party accreditation process is to ensure that the education provided by higher learning institutions meets acceptable levels of quality. The most widely recognized and accepted type of accreditation in the U.S. is regional accreditation. In general, colleges and universities are accredited by one of six regional agencies:
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Schools can also seek additional accreditation for specific programs and subjects. College credits or degrees available at regionally accredited institutions are recognized by other accredited institutions as well, while non-regional accreditations are not as accepted.
The standards for accreditation are set by peer review boards that include faculty members from various colleges and universities. These boards aid in evaluating each potential candidate and renewing previously accredited colleges and universities. Each institution is usually assessed based on the following criteria:
- Overall mission
- Objectives and goals
- Student requirements for admissions
- Services available to students
- Quality of education
- Reputation of faculty members
Why is Accreditation Important?
Colleges and universities that have been through the accreditation process are more likely to offer the degrees that employers are looking for. Because of this, looking for an institution’s accreditation information is an important step in evaluating whether it’s the right choice for you. Your future (or current) employer will recognize that you received a high-quality education and take that into consideration. In addition, attending an accredited school gives you a better chance at keeping any transfer credits you may have.
Notre Dame College is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools to award degrees at the associate, bachelor’s and master’s level. Our nursing degree programs are also accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), and our teacher education programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. For a full list of our approvals and affiliations, visit our accreditations page.
- Higher Learning Commission – North Central Association: The HLC is an independent corporation that was founded in 1895 as one of six regional institutional accreditors in the U.S. It evaluates degree-granting institutions in the North Central region, which includes 19 states.
- Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE): The CCNE is an independent accredited agency, committed to improving public health. It ensures the quality and integrity of baccalaureate, graduate and residency programs in nursing. As a voluntary, self-regulatory process, CCNE accreditation supports the continuing growth and improvement of nursing education.
- National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education: The NCATE establishes high quality teacher preparation. It evaluates schools, colleges and departments of education to improve quality and foster the development of competent classroom, specialist and administrative educators.
Choosing the accredited program that’s right for you is an important step in deciding to continue your education. At NDC, we strive to provide the quality, respected education you are looking for. Our online programs foster an environment that is both coeducational and career-focused. Through NDC’s online courses, our experienced professors and instructors provide you with the knowledge you need to advance your career. Learn more about our many online degree options today to get started.