Which accreditation is "better"?

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by Randell1234, Dec 7, 2005.

  1. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    Which accreditation is "better"?

    Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).


  2. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    DETC is better.
    DETC degrees hhave higher percentage of recogniition by RA universiitiies.

    Also in general DETC has better recognition, known more and even aaccrediits some schools overseas.

    Following RA+PA and RA the next on the scale is DETC.

  3. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    Lerner: "DETC degrees hhave higher percentage of recogniition by RA universiitiies."

    Bear: How do you know this? I've never seen any evidence to support this.
  4. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    Citation of sources? Evidence? John, John, John...

    Randell's question is sort of vague, but it's a good one: does one NA accreditor serve "its" students better than another, and if so, how?
  5. -kevin-

    -kevin- Resident Redneck


    Take a look at the schools each accredits. DETC accredits some military programs leading me to have a larger comfort zone with them. Additionally some schools hold both DETC and RA accreditation. I don't know of any schools that are both RA and ACICS. Lastly, we know some DETC schools have migrated to RA but I don't know of any ACICS schools that have done the same. Hopefully someone can provide this info.

    And just to veer a little, many state technical schools are accredited by OCE giving it some merit.

    I don't think that one type is better than the other and would actually be able to make a better comment if comparing specific schools.


    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2005
  6. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    The question is better for what?
    For school or for student and degree holder?

    Dr. Bear I'm not an expert on this but I read in the past that DETC accredited courses had ACE evaluations and that made them more transferable to some RA universities.
    I could be wrong on this but that what I meant.

    If I had time I would researched more before answering.

    Isnt DETC been longer - Founded in 1926 and climed to higher level, or is this just my perception.

    DETC also better markets its schools


    [q] DETC Presents Distinguished Recognition Award To Jack Goetz, Dean Of Concord Law School, For Outstanding Work In Distance Education ......[/q]


  7. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    No. None, yet.
  8. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    Better in what respect?

    Historically, they are both vocational accreditors. ACICS accredited (and continues to accredit) small proprietary business and computer skills colleges, the places that teach dental assisting and so on. DETC accredited (and continues to accredit) those 'learn a skill in your spare time' correspondence courses. Now both of them are trying to expand into the regional accreditors' turf by becoming full-service institutional accreditors for higher education. At this point that's still a work in progress. I don't think that either ACICS or DETC, or the schools that they accredit, are perceived as fully equivalent to RA, and both their school lineups and the wider acceptance of them are still an evolving thing. So historically, I see no real difference.

    Both ACICS and DETC are recognized to accredit up to the masters level. And both accreditors are currently accrediting a small number of non-Ph.D. doctoral pilot programs. I don't see any difference there.

    Concerning recognition, I think that ACICS is a larger accreditor and it accredits more schools. And those schools typically have some kind of B&M presence in the community, so most people are familiar with at least one local ACICS school. Of course, most people perceive these schools as small proprietary vocational skills colleges whose 'campuses' are often suites in office parks. DETC is more mysterious and stepping away from Degreeinfo's fascination with it, I don't think that most people are familiar with the accreditor or its schools. With DETC, there's also a possibility of DL-stigma among those paleolithic employers who still don't like DL. Edge to ACICS I guess, but not by very much. Ultimately, I'd say that where employers simply treat degrees and accreditation in a generic 'check the box' manner and where any recognized accreditation will do, there's no real difference. And where more than that is demanded, it will probably be a school-by-school matter since there's so much variation within both DETC and ACICS, and the basic distinction between them probably won't prove very important.

    Concerning academic prestige, I'd rate both accreditors relatively low at this point. Apart from several foreign universities who have sought DETC accreditation for reasons that I can't entirely fathom, it's hard to point to any school boasting DETC or ACICS as their primary accreditation that's research active, let alone a research leader. These schools compete well at the vocational end of the spectrum, but so far they are aren't strong players at the advanced-degree scholarly end. They are currently trying to break into doctorates, but both ACICS and DETC seem to be treating the advanced degrees as if they were just a new product line. Neither accreditor seems to be doing very much to encourage their more ambitious schools to set up research units or to participate more in existing scholarly life.
  9. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    Thanks, Bill. Great post. Which ACICS schools are doing the pilot doc programmes?
  10. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    I'm not familiar with this. Apart from Western Governors, what schools are both DETC and RA?

    I interpret WGU's DETC accreditation as kind of an easier-to-achieve way-station, given the cumbersome nature of their "IRAC" multiregional RA process. (WGU has been held back by its over-ambitious design.)

    And the weird DETC-accredited APUS (a single college selling itself online under at least two different names) is a NCA/HLC candidate. (I like AMU, wish that it would lose the marketing funny stuff, and predict that it will become RA accredited in due course.)

    San Francisco's ACICS accredited Academy of Art University is a WASC applicant and has a site visit scheduled, though it's not a candidate yet.

    Academy of Art University already has specialized accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and by the Foundation for Interior Design Education and Research (FIDER). It's currently a recogized candidate with the National Architecture Accreditation Board (NAAB) as well. That success with the specialized accreditors, along with AAU's size (it's the largest art school in the US by enrollment, currently above 7,000) and abundant physical facilities all over SF makes me hopeful about its chances with WASC.

    (It's interesting that the professional accreditations don't seem to extend to Academy of Art's online offerings, which remain ACICS accredited, because of studio-access/practical-instruction issues I'd guess. So I wonder if WASC will ultimately make the school scale back their massive DL offerings.)


    For another example of an ACICS school with specialized accreditation, the Musicians' Institute down in Hollywood is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).

    While I think that ACICS schools with specialized accreditation are rare, I don't know of any DETC schools that can boast it. (Apart from the foreign universities, I guess.)
  11. RobbCD

    RobbCD New Member

    Northwestern Polytechnic University offers the DBA and DCE degrees.


    That's the only one that I could find.
  12. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    One of them is Northwestern Polytechnic University in Fremont, California. They currently have an ACICS accredited DBA program as well as something that they call a Doctor of Computer Engineering (DCE).


    I believe that earlier posts have mentioned at least one more ACICS pilot as well, but my ravaged memory isn't up to remembering and the search function doesn't want to help me.
  13. -kevin-

    -kevin- Resident Redneck


    perhaps I am wrong but wasn't Western Governors University accredited by DETC in 2001 and NWCCU in 2003?

  14. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    I think Rich was referring to any ACICS (not DETC) schools going on to RA.
  15. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Both pursued simultaneously. RA takes longer. WGU isn't the only case.

    No school has first been accredited by DETC then gone through RA successfully.
  16. back2cali

    back2cali New Member

    I still find that State Approval is well accepted within the working field, depending on what the individual seeks to utilize the degree for in terms of purpose etc.
  17. DesElms

    DesElms New Member

    Oh... I am so glad that others have chimed-in on this thread. Last night, when I first discovered it and Lerner was the only one who had replied, I somewhat choked on his response... but was too tired to shoot it down. What a relief it is to come back here today and see that it has been so effectively handled by the best of the best that this place has to offer. I am relieved.

    I am nevertheless troubled by Lerner's seeming attempts to shoot-down -- or otherwise somehow diminish, just generally -- the value and importance of regional accreditation (RA) around here. In a place which has a reputation (an incorrect one, I should add) for believing in the "RA or No Way!" mantra, chipping away at RA by virtually any means seems more like something that one of DegreeInfo's enemies, and not its friends, would want to slip in here and do... just to make some kind of point to his friends over in the Crabby Forum and elsewhere nefarious.

    It is my fervent hope that that is not Lerner's ulterior motive; and I would point out to Lerner that the problems he frequently has with others here -- and with me in the past -- is their sense that that, and other things similar, is precisely what you're (Lerner's) doing around here... all the while wearing pro-RA/anti-diploma mill clothing; and that that has always been Lerner's game. I'm not saying that that's true of Lerner; I'm just saying that others' belief that that's the case, and Lerner's behavior which might seem to support that notion, is, in largest measure, I think, why there is such detrition between Lerner and others around here. Lerner, please take note.

    Regional accreditation with specialized/professional accreditation sitting atop it (RA + PA, as Lerner puts it) is not inherently superior to regional accreditation alone. It's simply misleading to say so. RA not like a molecule of one element which is of no useful purpose unless it is bonded to a molecule of some other element. One oxygen unbound to two hydrogens is as life-sustaining as when it is so bound... but just in a different way. Breathable air is as important to human life as is drinkable water. Oxygen's present in both, and brings to the table that which is neither optional, nor diminished by its sitting at said table alone.

    I'm growing tired of Lerner's repeated "RA + PA or No Way!" rant. Requiring specialized/professional accreditation (PA) is merely a way for a licensing and/or certification entity/authority to ensure that its additional, industry/profession-specific requirements beyond what RA ensures will be present in the education that's behind the credentials it requires. Period. Nothing more. It's simply a way of being more specific, not "better." Anyone who says otherwise -- as Lerner's doing here -- demonstrates his/her profound lack of understanding of the accreditation system, just generally.

    Regional accreditation, like it or not, remains the coin of the realm. If DegreeInfo's critics wan to characterize that as saying "RA or No Way!" -- notwithstanding the fact that that's not what DegreeInfo's saying, and never has been -- then so be it. It is so not necessarily because it's inherently better than any other USDE- and/or CHEA-approved type of accreditation but, rather (and simply), because it was there first and it was the construct upon which the basic accreditation scheme of this nation was built. It is a defacto standard by its ubiquity, not necessarily by its inherent superiority. RA is not diminished by its not having PA sitting atop it; nor is it, as a practical matter, qualitatively "better" than national accreditation (NA) such as DETC or even ACICS, as Lerner has put forth here. Neither is DECT inherenly "better" than ACICS, I would argue. They're both national accreditors, approved by USDE- and/or CHEA. What more is there to know?

    An accreditation type's "superiority" (or lack thereof) is in its usefulness; which, in turn, is purely a matter of practice, not edict. The practice in this country -- no matter there being no real, rational basis for same -- is that RA is the ticket to the show. NA should be equally regarded, but it's not... neither DETC nor ACICS is. If DETC is perceived as superior to ACICS, it's just that: A perception, nothing more; and, if more, a mere matter of practice, not edict or measurable difference.

    If ACICS is seen as being somehow not as good as DETC, then it's for much the same sort of reason as regional accreditation is seen as being somehow better than either of them... and in all cases, there's no real rational basis for it other than that's just the way it is. If there really is something about one type of accreditation that's objectively better than another, there's almost certainly something about the other type of accreditation that's objectively better than the one. Like most all things in this life, it's a tradeoff.

    I think we would all be ahead of the game around here -- and would be of greater service to the reader -- if we all dispensed with the never-ending and unresolvable, qualitative, "which is better" arguments; and confine ourselves, instead, to the somewhat more observable quantitative ones which tell us that, like it or not, RA is most prevalent and, therefore, useful and has the highest utility; NA is less a bit less prevalent and, therefore, a bit less useful and has the second highest level of utility; and comparing PA to either of them is like comparing apples and oranges because it is just a way of arriving at a finer granularity than either RA or NA sometimes provide for specific purposes.

    It's really as simple as that. Why we have these endless "which is better" conversations is a complete mystery to me.
  18. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Really? Where did you find this, and how is "well accepted" defined?

    I find that acceptability drops significantly when employers find out that "state approved" and/or "state licensed" doesn't mean the same thing as "accredited." Let's hope yours isn't one of them.

    (And please, spare us the claim your employer knows all about Breyer and its status. If true--which is almost never the case--hang on to him/her forever!)
  19. DesElms

    DesElms New Member

    And gimmee his (back2cali's boss's) phone number so I can call him and suggest the he spend a few evenings getting educated about accreditation here. Then let's see what back2cali's employer has to say about Breyer State!
  20. back2cali

    back2cali New Member

    Thank you for your insite. It is much appreciated. I am enjoying my program thus far with BSU and find it both challenging and also is adding further skill sets for within my curriculum and area of study.

    I am happy with my employer ( myself ) and will take your advise to heart.

    Many thanks for all of the various viewpoints here at Degreeinfo. It is a education in itself.

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