Guide to Nationally Accredited Online Colleges

National accrediting agencies provide the most accurate measure for evaluating educational institutions. They primarily evaluate career, vocational, trade, and faith-related schools across the United States. Nationally Accredited Online colleges & universities are generally less expensive and require less general coursework because they focus on specific career tracks.

The schools on our list are accredited by agencies approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education and further information about the current CHEA recognized national accreditation agencies.

Other Types of Accreditation

  • Regional
  • Programmatic
  • All

The U.S. Department of Education is a respected and credible organization that determines the quality of colleges and universities. Accreditation helps employers and other institutions know that your education has met rigorous standards of quality. All of the schools on our site are accredited.

When looking for an online college or program, you should make sure it is accredited. Accreditation is a sign of the quality of education provided by specific institutions. It’s also a way to distinguish between more legitimate online programs and diploma mills. The Distance Education Accrediting Commission, or DEAC, is a private, non-profit organization that has been around for over 90 years. Today, it’s the official accrediting agency for all online schools. Regional accreditation is also available from a number of smaller, more local organizations.

The purpose of accreditation is to ensure that the college or university offering the courses meets certain educational standards and has the capacity to teach those online courses. This is to differentiate between genuine online degrees courses from disingenuous degree mills. Distance Education Accreditation Commission (DEAC) is the major accrediting body of online schools in the country.

Why is National Accreditation Important?

As mentioned earlier, accreditation is the process of reviewing different colleges and universities to ensure that they are offering relevant courses to students. There are several accrediting agencies tasked with this responsibility. Their work is to ensure that only genuine and approved institutions operate in the country.

National accrediting bodies generally evaluate career, trade, vocational, and faith-related learning institutions across the country. It is your responsibility to ensure that the college or university you want to join is accredited by the relevant agencies.

List of National Accreditation Agencies

Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES)

The Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools deals with the national accreditation of private postsecondary institutions that provide career-specific health education like massage therapy, pharmacy technicians, or emergency medical technician courses. The agency also offers accreditation to both private and public programs in medical laboratory technology, surgical technology, and medical aid.

The role of ABHES is to promote and guarantee educational excellence by ensuring learning institutions adhere to the set educational standards. The bureau is also responsible for coming up with policies aimed at enhancing higher standards of education and promoting continuity. The agency is under the U.S. Department of Education.

Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)

The accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges is the main accreditor of technical and vocational schools in the US. The commission has been involved in accrediting schools for more than 50 years. It regulates over 650 postsecondary schools whose focus is on trade, career, and occupational training. Its main role is to ensure that all schools abide by the regulations set by the department of education in the country.

Ever since it was established, ACCSC has set itself as a strong force in the education sector. It works under the U.S. Department of Education and strives to promote high-quality education across the country. The commission works hand in hand with other relevant bodies to offer equal educational opportunities to all learners in the country.

Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET)

This is the body tasked with the mandate of assessing non-collegiate institutions that offer adult education as well as organizations providing continuing education like corporate programs. The role of the council involved the evaluation of corporate training, private career schools, trade associations, intensive English language programs, public affairs societies, religious organizations, volunteer organizations, and labor union training programs.

The objective of ACCET is to promote continuous learning and ensure that all short-term courses offered by various institutions and corporate organizations meet the required educational standards. It works closely with other agencies to offer monitor and evaluate all institutions or organizations offering educational courses.

Association of Biblical Higher Education (ABHE)

The Association for Biblical Higher Education is a body under the department of education that requires students to perform well in core biblical and theological studies alongside professional studies and general studies. This means that college students who major in other subjects must pass at least one or two religious courses for them to proceed to the next level.

There’s an increasing number of ABHE-accredited institutions that have started missionary and graduate divisions in the country. Most of them focus on academic research work. The association is recognized by the Council of Higher Education and Accreditation as well as the U.S. Department of education.

Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS)

The council has been in existence for the past 100 years. The role of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools is to review colleges, schools, and institutions that are biased towards professional career training. ACICS works hand in hand with the U.S. Department of Education to ensure that all learning institutions and complying with the set regulations.

The three agencies serve as checks for each other to make sure that education standards are maintained in the country. Lack of regulations often leads to poor quality of education because of the high number of unaccredited schools and colleges.

Association of Advanced Rabbinical and Talmudic Schools (AARTS)

This is an independently run-operated organization comprised of Talmudic and rabbinical training experts. The non-profit organization started its operations in 1974 by setting up educational standards that are in line with Jewish traditions. As a historical organization, AARTS promotes traditional teachings and a modern approach to Talmudic and rabbinical education.

The association is committed to promoting religious values in the education system by ensuring that learning institutions only teach approved content. The main objective of the association is to hold learning institutions accountable for what they teach. It works hand in hand with the department of education and other relevant bodies to promote the quality of education in the country.

Association of Institutions of Jewish Studies (AIJS)

The Association of Institutions of Jewish Studies is a regulatory body that reviews postsecondary schools’ teaching programs related to Jewish studies and other disciplines. Through holistic evaluation of learning institutions, AIJS works to ensure that member schools are always upholding the ideals of Jewish society. This is also meant to promote the quality of education and culture.

AIJS reviews postsecondary schools that offer undergraduate programs in conventional Jewish studies like Biblical studies, practice and customs, Jews law, Jewish ethics and history, Talmudic and rabbinical studies, the study of Hebrew, Yiddish, and Aramaic.

Council on Occupational Education (COE)

The main role of the Council on Occupational Education is to review postsecondary learning institutions dealing with occupational education. Its scope of operation includes private career colleges, public technical colleges, Job Corps Centres as well as Navy, Army, and Department of defense learning institutions.

Having been founded in 1971, the council is tasked with the responsibility of ensuring educational institutions fulfill the required standards. They are also supposed to push the above institution to meet the market demands in terms of jobs and employment opportunities. The regulatory oversees over 430 learning institutions and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS)

ATS is responsible for accrediting graduate schools offering theological courses across the United States and Canada. Its scope includes Jewish multi-denominational, Christian as well as nondenominational schools. The Association of Theological Schools is guided by four core values namely; diversity, leadership, quality and improvement, and collegiality.

The commission works with over 260 accredited graduate theological schools. All the 260 institutions adhere to the 10 standards stipulated by the commission to promote learning among students. The regulatory body has been evaluating and accrediting member schools since 1936. ATS works closely with the U.S. Department of Education as well as the Council on Higher Education and Accreditation to maintain high standards of education in the country.

Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)

The Distance Education Accrediting Commission is an accrediting agency that seeks to develop and promote distance learning as an alternative to traditional learning. The Distance Education Accrediting Commission accredits colleges and schools that teach over 500 online degrees, correspondence programs plus other types of distance education.

Accredited colleges and schools range from small educational institutions to big multinational operations. The commission evaluates and accredits colleges and schools by analyzing their ethical, educational and business practices. They only approve those that meet the set standards by the Department of Education. DEAC works hand in hand with the Council on Higher Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education to regulate education in the country.

National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences (NACCAS)

NACCAS is an independent non-profit organization that reviews postsecondary schools providing courses in sciences and cosmetology arts. The agency was started in 1969 and the two regulatory bodies in the field decided to merge and form the Cosmetology Accrediting Commission.

Currently, the Commission accredits more than 1,300 institutions and serves approximately 120,000 students across the country. The main role of the commission is to ensure that member institutions adhere to academic its standards as well as academic excellence. NACCASA also works under the U.S. Department of Education.

Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS)

TRACS is a Christian education regulatory body in charge of overseeing Christian colleges, schools, seminaries and universities. The association was founded in 1979 and currently serves 80 accredited schools in 21 states. Member institutions are required to offer students a quality education while at the same time promoting spiritual development.

TRACS is a member of the American Council on Education and International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education. The Association aims at ensuring member institutions uphold its educational standards at all times.

In general, online education has been embraced by many people. However, you should only undertake courses from regionally or nationally accredited online colleges. This is because such colleges are regulated by different agencies to guarantee quality education.

List of Nationally Accredited Online Colleges

School NameAccrediting AgencyAnnual Tuition (2022)
Abraham Lincoln UniversityDEAC$7,758
American National UniversityABHES, ACICS, DEAC$8,244
American Public University SystemDEAC$7,324
Andrews UniversityDEAC$30,158
Bryan University OnlineACCSC, ACICS$15,400
California Coast UniversityDEAC$4,725
California Institute of Advanced ManagementACICS, DEAC$20,000
California Intercontinental UniversityDEAC$10,018
Carrington CollegeABHES, ACCSC, ACICS$34,050
Columbia International UniversityABHE$24,000
Columbia Southern UniversityDEAC$6,600
Crown CollegeABHE$26,970
Daymar CollegeACCSC, ACICS$19,450
ECPI University OnlineABHES, ACCET, ACCSC$16,639
Full Sail UniversityACCSC$24,513
Independence UniversityACCSC, DEAC$14,585
Johnson UniversityABHE$16,920
Kansas Christian CollegeABHE$7,270
Liberty UniversityTRACS$11,700
Miller-Motte College OnlineACICS$24,160
Ohio Christian UniversityABHE$21,390
Penn Foster – HealthcareDEACNot Provided
Penn Foster Career SchoolDEACNot Provided
Penn Foster CollegeDEACNot Provided
Pinnacle Career Institute OnlineACCSC, ACICS18115
Purdue University GlobalACICS, DEAC$14,358
Rasmussen University OnlineABHESNot Provided
San Diego Christian CollegeTRACS32346
Shiloh UniversityDEAC$5,250
South CollegeACICS$17,025
Southwestern Assemblies of God UniversityABHE$19,834
Southwestern Oklahoma State UniversityABHES$14,595
Stratford UniversityABHES, ACICS$15,135
Toccoa Falls CollegeABHE$23,184
Ultimate Medical AcademyABHES, ACICS$15,525
University of Arkansas GranthamDEAC$8,280
West Coast UniversityACICS$27,488
Western Governors UniversityDEAC$6,670
Nationally Accredited Online Colleges – school names, accrediting agencies, tuition
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