Are Online MBAs accredited?

are-online-mbas-accreditedWhether or not an online MBA is accredited depends on the specific higher education organization. Read on to learn who accredits online degrees and how to verify if an online degree is accredited.

Traditional Higher Education Accreditation

The Department of Education, in conjunction with the Department of Education (DOE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), are the highest accrediting bodies in the U.S. for higher learning institutions. The CHEA is the nationally recognized regulator of higher education academic quality. They oversee the accreditation of career, private, regional and even faith-based higher learning institutions. The CHEA offers a searchable database of accredited schools.

There are six regional accrediting agencies that are approved through the Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). These include the Higher Learning Commission, the Northwest Accreditation Commission, the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Therefore, any online program that is accredited through the CHEA will be an appropriate choice.

Alternative Higher Education Accreditation

All online schools claim to have some type of accreditation, but the academic legitimacy for online schools is established through the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), which is formally recognized by the CHEA and the Department of Education. The DEAC is the primary accrediting agency for online-based schools. Students should bear in mind that the DEAC is a national accrediting body, not a regional accrediting body. Thus, they are sometimes not accepted by regionally accrediting agencies. Education experts point out that this is most likely because online schools are competitions and not because of poor academic quality or standard. The DEAC offers a search engine for prospective students to verify if their target online school is accredited.

What are the Warning Signs of a Fraudulent Online School?

There are proven warning signs that an online school is just a sophisticated diploma mill. For example, students should be suspicious of any online school that aggressively markets the fact that work or life experience can count for a large portion of credits. These same schools will most likely use pushy advertising tactics, such as spam emails and web pop-ups, to pester online visitors. Legitimate learning institutions will have basic admissions eligibility standard. Furthermore, students should ask about the process for exams, homework and student-teacher interaction. Real universities will have at least a basic online dashboard for students to communicate with their professor, school and even other students. Lastly, online diploma mills often advertise a flat fee for the entire diploma.

Sample MBA Curriculum

A legitimate MBA program will cover core MBA topics while offering standard specializations, such as in IT, leadership and health care. Key classes will include business analytics, which will focus on quantitative statistics and problem solving, and strategic decision making, which will concentrate on using quality operational information. All MBA degrees should cover aspects of finances, such as accounting and microeconomics, and aspects of HR management, such as global development and changing legal environments. Finally, there should be a management class, which will explore topics such as competitive analysis and organizational assessments, and leadership, which will touch on various leadership methodologies.

Without a doubt, the three reliable ways to prove the legitimacy of an online MBA program are the CHEA, DEAC and the Department of Education.