Pros/Cons of National vs Regional Accreditation?

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by KYarb, Sep 20, 2008.

  1. KYarb

    KYarb New Member

    Just wondering if someone with a bit more knowledge can provide some of the basic info concerning the pros/cons of Regional vs National Accreditation. I know some things... like most regionally accredited universities won't accept nationally accredited degrees.

    Specifically, how does a DETC/CHEA accredited degree impact career related things? Is it just as good as a regional-accreditation?
  2. sentinel

    sentinel New Member

    It is situationally-dependent at its most fundamental. Whether a particular employer will only accept a regionally accredited degree or that employer is not knowledgeable about nationally accredited degrees is any matter all together.

    Credits or degrees earned within one regional accreditation area might not be accepted in transfer at a school in another regional accreditation area. There is nothing unique about nationally accredited credit hours or degrees being rejected by another school. The situation is improving albeit slowly vis-a-vis acceptance of nationally accredited credit hours by regionally accredited institutions.
  3. Chip

    Chip Administrator

    DETC has been working for years to gain broader acceptance of DETC degrees both in the workplace and with the regional accreditors, and they have made significant inroads.

    Yet at the same time, there are still many employers, job listings, job descriptions, etc that do specify a "regionally accredited" degree as a requirement. If it's a technical degree, the DETC degree may have utility that is similar to a regionally accredited degree, but for more conventional degrees, there's still a certain "cachet" to regional accreditation that DETC hasn't yet developed.

    Perhaps over time, this will change, but in the realm of academia, this sort of acceptance seems to be a slow thing.

    If I was choosing between two programs that were otherwise pretty similar, there's no question I'd opt for a regionally accredited degree.

    If there was a dramatic price difference, or a program that perhaps wasn't easily available from an RA school, AND the DETC school was one with a good reputation (DETC has had some pretty unwonderful schools on its roster at various times) then I'd give the DETC program serious consideration.
  4. KYarb

    KYarb New Member

    Same here Chip, I dunno if I would want to take the chance on a DETC school... although their scheduling, testing and study methods are much more appealing.

    Maybe in time DETC will become a more recognized accreditation. Then we can have it all! :p
  5. cantafforedit

    cantafforedit New Member

    To be honest i think that detc schools education is better than some RA based school. but that's just my opinion.
  6. Chip

    Chip Administrator

    It's quite possible to find a stellar DETC program and compare it to a bottom-of-the-barrel regionally accredited program and in that case, there's no question that the best of the DETC is better than the worst of the regionals.

    But I think one would be hard pressed to make the case that on the whole, DETC schools provide a *better* education than RA schools. More cost effective, perhaps. Better options in technical-related degrees, very likely.

    So I agree that there are probably a handful of DETC schools that are better than a handful of RA schools. But on the whole, and at least at present, regionally accrediteds schools are still more likely to provide a rigorous education than their DETC counterparts.
  7. cantafforedit

    cantafforedit New Member

    I asked a detc school why were'nt they RA? they told me that it is a lot of money involved in that process but it's not something that they have dismissed from thier agenda of getting.

    I also believe that a lot of well established schools ( 50-150yrs old) can easily ger RA because simply they have been around the longest, & more students= more money plain and simple.
  8. airtorn

    airtorn Moderator Staff Member

    A school does not need to be around a long time to get RA. Examples of relatively new schools that are RA (and DL) are Northcentral University and the American Public University System.
  9. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    In low-end comparisons, the biggest variable is probably the individual professor. I imagine that you might sometimes encounter very good professors at DETC (or ACICS or whatever) schools. I doubt if there's a huge difference between DETC and the weaker RA DL programs in that respect.

    When you compare these kind of programs with "top tier" on-campus programs, there's also an important admissions-selectivity element. Stronger students mean better discussions, both in and out of class. They also give the professor the opportunity to explore more advanced and stimulating material in greater depth, without having to concentrate on bringing slower students up to a minimal standard. Students stimulate each other and sadly a lot of that is simply lost with DL.

    Moving on to graduate programs, there's a fundamental scholarship aspect. With only a few exceptions (NY-Regents accredited Rockefeller University for example), all of America's research-productive universities are RA (or working on RA like UC Merced). That's where people (including employers) expect to find an active intellectual life. Again, the gap seems to be larger between the top and bottom of the RA range than between the bottom of the RA range and the DETC or ACICS schools.

    DETC (and ACICS) are gradually unveiling doctoral programs. Some low-end RA schools emphasize DL doctoral programs too. But few of these (whatever their accreditation) are leaders or play a significant part in the intellectual life of their disciplines.

    They really should put in some dedicated research units (centers, institutes, whatever) win some grant money and publish something. They need to show up at the conferences and make presentations. They need to actually show some interest in the subjects they teach and not just in awarding as many degrees as quickly as possible. They can't just blithely assume that the academic game is for Berkeley and not for them, then scream "discrimination" at the top of their lungs when their degrees don't get the same respect.
  10. Shawn Ambrose

    Shawn Ambrose New Member


    I agree with you - DL doctoral degrees will gain more respect when DL doctoral students/grads present at conferences and are published in scholarly journals.

    BTW - I have presented articles at three conferences during my doctoral studies, as well as moderated two panel discussions.

  11. Abner

    Abner Well-Known Member

    Good job Shawn!

  12. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    No. Money tends not to be the reason why schools do not seek regional accreditation.
  13. jek2839

    jek2839 New Member

    Hi Dr. Pina,

    If it's not money, then what would you consider to be the typical reason for a school that is NA accredited to not seek additional RA accreditation?


    Jim K
  14. cantafforedit

    cantafforedit New Member

    Exactly. That's what i want to know.
  15. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Here's your proof: There are situations where a degree from an NA school is not acceptable, that only degrees from RA schools are recognized. The reverse is never true.

    Generally speaking, there aren't any good reasons for taking one's degree from an NA school. There are always exceptions for individuals, of course. And there are a few interesting programs found at NA schools not seen at RA schools. But again, generally speaking, there aren't any advantages with taking one's degree from an NA school. But there can often be disadvantages.
  16. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    I'd like to pile on a bit. While some DETC accredited schools/programs have made recent gains in terms of acceptability by RA schools, there is one factor that has not shifted substantially. I am referring to the fact that some people (myself included) are a bit shocked that DETC programs are often MORE expensive than identified RA programs that offer the same degree. The question that comes to my mind (and it's never been adequately answered) is why would you pay more money to earn a degree that was potentially less accepted/useful?
  17. cantafforedit

    cantafforedit New Member

    Maybe the restrictions are not as tight with DETC schools as with RA schools

    Example: you can finish as fast as time will allow you at DETC schools because you are finacing it, and they are no specific credit guide lines such as ( maxium of credit one can get within a certain time frame).

    RA schools have certain GPA's you have to have to enter, you are only allowed so many credits within a certain time frame, and you can't finish as fast as you want to.
  18. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    I'm not sure whether I agree with that or not. It depends on what 'NA' includes, I guess.

    Many states specify ABA-accredited law degrees for admission to the bar. The University of California's Hastings College of Law in San Francisco is ABA but isn't RA. Some religious denominations require clergy candidates to have ATS-accredited degrees and there are many ATS but non-RA seminaries out there.

    But yeah, I've never seen employers reqiring DETC or ACICS degrees, but I have seen RA specified.
  19. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    Maybe. However, clear examples would go a long way toward making this a convincing argument.
  20. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    I work for a system that has both RA and NA institutions. Regional accreditation tends to be more difficult and time-consuming to obtain than DETC, AALE or ACICS. Items like financial resources, percentage of faculty with terminal degrees and other requirements are generally more stringent for RA and than for NA. ACICS has recently upped the requirements for faculty teaching general education courses from possession of a bachelors degree to a masters degree (the same as SACS our RA accreditor), so we may begin to see a blurring of some of the RA/NA differences in the future.

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