In recent years, the internet has greatly changed the way people learn, with more and more online education options available. If you are looking for a high-school diploma but cannot regularly attend a brick-and-mortar school, you can do this by attending an accredited online school. There are now a number of fully accredited online high schools whose diplomas are recognized by most colleges and universities.
Why is it important to choose an online high school with accreditation?
An accredited online high school is actually an online high school with accreditation. By definition, accreditation is the process of reviewing an online high school’s programs and policies to ensure it meets a certain set of criteria and standards. Accreditation for online high schools is meant to protect students, schools and employers.
Accreditation guarantees online high schools comply with the highest quality educational standards. If students receive a diploma from an accredited online high school, they are guaranteed that the diploma will be recognized by colleges and universities as well as employers. Most colleges and employers believe that graduates from a fully state accredited online high school would receive a quality education.
Note: For some online schools that are not up to accreditation standards, their diplomas are considered of low quality. These diplomas are not accepted by colleges, universities and employers. Thus, they are considered a waste of time.
Who grants accreditation to online high schools?
Actually, anyone can claim to have the right to grant accreditation to schools. However, not all accreditation is valid. Be noted that accreditation from improper sources can just as bad as no accreditation at all.
Genuine accredited online high schools are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). If accredited programs provided by online high schools are not in support of these official agencies, they are void.
Valid, legitimate online high schools should be accredited by regional accrediting agencies affiliated with USDA and CHEA. Be aware that if the accreditation agency is not affiliated with, or recognized by USDA or CHEA, the online high school accreditation is invalid.
There are some online high schools that are also accredited by the Distance Education Training Council (DETC). The DETC is approbatory by USDE and CHEA. It is also accepted by some employers. However, the DETC is not as widely recognizable as a regional accreditation agency.
How to ensure an online high school is accredited?
Having said that, a valid accredited online high school is accredited by the accrediting agencies afflicted with USDE and CHEA. So, if you want to ensure whether an online high school is accredited, the first step is to determine what state the online high school classes are operating in.
After knowing the state of operation, check with one of the six regional accrediting agencies (NEASC, NCACASI, Middle States Association, SACS and WASC) that cover the state. Be sure that the accreditation is from these agencies, as they are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Accredited online high schools will be listed with them. Also, check with your state’s Department of Education.
In addition, beware of any GED-like tests. If you can receive your diploma by taking a single or a series of online exams, it is highly possible you participate in a diploma mill. Thus, you may end up with a joke diploma.
How to find an accredited online high school?
You have already known that it is important to enroll in an accredited online high school. Here are some ways that help you find a high school that meets accreditation standards and your educational needs alike.
1. Check the USDE’s official website. You can find a list of accredited online high schools and the accreditation standards on the website. This information makes it possible for you to find the best possible accredited online high school.
2. Visit eLearning Yellow Pages. This website offers a list of accredited online high school degree programs available for anyone to use for free. There is also a description of the benefits of each school. Links to the main pages of these schools are also available on the website.
3. Contact your local high school directly, as some high schools in the area may offer online programs. Some area high schools will offer classes in the internet, but have proctored tests that must be taken at the school.
4. Find books with information about online high schools. Take Finding an Online High School: Vincent Kiernan for instance. This book is your guide to more than 4,500 high school courses offered over the internet. The book is split into four parts. The fourth part lists schools by state, which may be helpful if you are looking for free or reduced tuition or for courses that meet your states particular requirements.
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