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Accredited Online Courses with School Options

Accredited online courses offer students the opportunity to conveniently and effectively further their education. Whether for personal, professional or academic reasons, accredited online college courses allow students to take individual classes or pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificates. There are several resources available to help students determine if a school is accredited, and if the organization giving the accreditation is recognized.

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Where Can I Find Accredited Online Courses?

Students can find schools offering accredited online courses by visiting the school's website or by visiting the College Navigator tool on the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) website. The NCES website, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) allows students to search for schools based on location, degrees awarded and distance learning options, among other criteria.

Once students have found accredited online college courses, it is advisable to verify the accrediting agency. The USDE or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) must approve an accrediting agency before it is considered acceptable. Both the USDE and the CHEA websites have search features that allow students to verify an institution's accreditation or that of the accrediting agency; the CHEA website also has a directory of recognized accrediting agencies.

Course Options

There are many options for choosing an accredited online course. Students can take courses for professional development and earn a certificate of completion; they can also earn academic credit toward various degrees, including associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees, as well as professional certificates. Depending on the school, students can even take not-for-credit courses with no planned degree or curricula for their own personal growth and enrichment.

Accredited online courses are offered at many public and private universities, community colleges, accredited online institutions and vocational schools. The type of courses and degrees students seek dictate 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 level 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.

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