What is Accreditation and Why Does It Matter?
Accreditation is the process by which the education offered at a college or university is determined to be of high quality. If a particular institution is accredited, the degrees awarded by that college or university are of highest value and are recognized by other accredited institutions. If an institution is not accredited, the credits, certificates, and degrees earned at that institution are not honored at other colleges and universities. A college or university becomes accredited by a team of faculty and administrators from regionally accredited institutions after a rigorous evaluation of programs, academic standards, support services, and all other aspects of the school. In the modern era, a certificate or degree must be earned in an accredited program to have recognized worth.
The process of accrediting colleges and universities began in the late 1800s. The United States was essentially divided into six regions, and an accreditation agency was established to determine the educational quality of all schools in each region. Since that time, regional accreditation has become the gold standard of a college education. National accreditation, on the other hand, is a type of accreditation status that was largely created for institutions who do not meet high standards and is always inferior to regional accreditation. Idaho State University, including the College of Technology, is regionally accredited through the Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). The credits earned at ISU, therefore, are transferrable to all universities across the country that are also regionally accredited. For example, credits earned at Idaho State University will be honored at Harvard University since both institutions are regionally accredited.
Specialized Accreditation for Programs
In addition to regional accreditation for the entire college or university, individual programs can seek further recognition of program quality by receiving specialized accreditation. Specialized accreditation is program-specific and maintains even higher standards of excellence than regional accreditation and traces its roots back to 1847. If a program is offered at a regionally accredited university and has specialized accreditation, that program can be considered one of the best of its kind in the country. Almost every program in ISU’s College of Technology has specialized accreditation status and/or has earned other prestigious accolades. Below is a list of all the programs in the College of Technology with specialized accreditation and other honors.