Accreditation for colleges can be confusing. The two main levels of accreditation, nation and regional accreditation, have names that are not truly reflective of their scopes. So which works for you?
Regional accreditations are the oldest and highest level of institutional accreditation in the United States. Most major colleges have this level of accreditation. There are 6 regional accrediting bodies that cover the United States. The accreditation a school receives depends on geographical location, or its region.
The name regional sounds as if the value of the education is only applicable in a certain area, but this is not the case. Schools and employers reserve the right to only accept certain accreditations, but, in general, regionally accredited classes, credits, or degrees are accepted across the country as the highest level of accreditation.
National accreditation, contrary to what its name might imply, is a lower level of accreditation than regional. Schools that have this level are often trade or vocational schools that teach skill sets rather than rigorous academics. Students learn to be electricians, cosmetologists, or mechanics, just to name a few.
Nursing programs are one exception. They often having national programmatic accreditation, while being offered at schools which have regional accreditations an institution.
WHICH TO CHOOSE?
Both regional and national accreditation have their place, but if you’re seeking a college degree and want to have maximum leverage and portability for your efforts, then selecting a school with regional accreditation is very important. There are a few nationally accredited schools that offer college degree programs. It is important to note that, with rare exception, regionally accredited schools will not accept credits or degrees from nationally accredited schools. Also, many employers and positions with educational contract benefits will not recognize nationally accredited degrees. If you are seeking to learn a skill or trade which does not require a college degree, then national accreditation will suffice.