All of the online schools, at any degree level, featured on our website are accredited, ensuring that they meet high standards of quality. In order to be accredited, online colleges are evaluated based on criteria such as curricula, faculty, course offerings, facilities, financial resources, and support services. Accreditation in the United States comes from federal and state agencies as well as non-governmental bodies approved by the U.S. Department of Education. Accreditation not only demonstrates the quality of an online school, but can also determine whether credits are transferable to other accredited online colleges. To find out whether an accreditation agency is legitimate, make sure it is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Citations: For a broader account of our ranking methodology, especially as it relates to TheBestSchools.org’s underlying educational philosophy and, in other ranking articles, looks beyond academic excellence (as here) to such factors as return on investment or incidental benefit, see our article “ Ranking Methodology: How We Rank Schools at TBS.” Reputation of schools and degree programs can at least in part be gauged through the rankings of other well-known educational ranking companies. At TheBestSchools.org, we keep track of such social and peer validation: “ Making Sense of College Rankings.” For nuts-and-bolts information about colleges and universities, we look to the National Center for Education Statistics and especially its College Navigator. Insofar as salary and inflation data are relevant to a ranking, we look to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Finally, nothing beats contacting schools and degree programs directly, which our researchers often do, with the result that all the entries in this article should be considered as belonging to this citation!
Choosing your field of study is the first step in your online education, a process that takes time, commitment, and energy. The online degree program you decide to pursue will affect your career path, income potential, and level of employment. Online colleges offer a number of diverse options, and your area of interest may cross over several different degree programs. To help you find the online degree program that matches your interests and gives you best chance of financial success, explore our online degree comparison tool for information about earning potential, degree costs, and time commitments.