Questions about accreditation are probably the ones most often asked about online masters degree programs. And if they are not then they should be. Accreditation can decide whether your masters degree is looked upon as a worthwhile degree or just an exercise in frivolity. One thing is for sure. Questions about accreditation deserve answers.
Are All Online Masters Degree Programs The Same?
Before you can answer the big question about the accreditation of online masters degree programs, you need to ask if these programs are indeed all the same. This would be the same as asking if all degree programs that were campus-based were the same. If they were then a masters degree program at one college would be the same as it would be at any other. No one college would be better than any other.
While accreditation and overall program quality are two separate issues in many ways, this serves to illustrate a point. No two programs are going to be exactly alike when they are campus-based and you cannot make any sweeping generalizations of this sort about online masters degree programs either. You cannot ask this question about online masters degrees programs as a collective. You have to ask it about each individual program.
The Accreditation Answer
If you want to know if an online masters degree program is accredited by a legitimate agency then you want to know what agency should be doing the accrediting. This is the beginning. Then, if a program does say that it is accredited by the right agency, you can check with that agency to make sure of it. This is usually possible by visiting the accreditation agency’s web site although you could just contact the agency directly to inquire about a program’s accreditation status.
But do not skip the step where you figure out which agency should be doing the accrediting for your online masters degree to get you the position that you want. For all you know, an online masters degree program could be accredited by an agency that has no real meaning to potential employers. In this case, you could have an accredited online masters degree and that degree could still be meaningless in the real world.
Some online masters degrees are accredited by legitimate agencies and some are not. This may not be a satisfying answer but it is the truth. Think of doing research as the price you pay for the many benefits of an online masters degree.