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3 Specialized Accreditations Related to Online Business Schools

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College accreditation is of great significance which can guarantee the college or university you plan to attend offers quality education and thus opens doors to your prospect career.

Additionally, accreditation plays an important role in determining whether your college is qualified for federal or state financial aid, and whether your credits can be transferred. To get a degree from a college demands both great efforts and sufficient proceeds, so it is really worth considering carefully about accreditation stuff.

When choosing online business schools, some students take it for granted that all accredited universities are ideal places to pursue a business degree. Yet the truth is that accreditations vary from case to case. Or other students know distinctions exist between accreditations, but they tend to feel confused about various accreditations, which makes it hard to select the online school that best suits their need. In this article I will talk about the types of accreditations and tell you how to choose from them.

Typically, there are two primary types of accreditation when speaking of educational industry – institutional accreditation and specialized accreditation.

Institutional accreditation, also known as regional accreditation (commonly abbreviated as RA), is the most recognized type that is evaluated by regional accreditation agencies on the basis of geographic location. It accepts universities or colleges who meet its requirements. There are overall six regional accreditation agencies across the country, and each agency is responsible for a certain part. Online schools are accredited by the agencies that govern their home states. See below:

• MSA (Middle State Association of Colleges and Schools) covers colleges located in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.

• NEA (New England Association of Schools and Colleges) covers colleges located in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

• NCA (North Central Association of Colleges and Schools) covers colleges located in Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

• NA (Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges) covers colleges located in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

• SA (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) covers colleges located in Virginia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee and Texas.

• WA (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) covers colleges located in California and Hawaii.

Specialized accreditation requires colleges to be accredited by regional accreditation agencies first in most cases. This accreditation is designed to accredit a specific program or department in a university. Too many specialized accreditation agencies are available, so I am not gonna list them all. You can search relevant information on the Internet if you are interested in them.

When it comes to online business schools, there are mainly three specialized accreditation agencies – AACSB, ACBSP, and IACBE. By the way, all the business accreditation associations are not recognized by the United State Department of Education.


AACBS refers to the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business which was founded in 1916. It is the oldest specialized accreditation agency that accredits online business schools in the United States. The online business university in candidacy will be evaluated in terms of school mission, administration, education quality, online programs, etc.

Here comes the most important part – features. AACBS is actually a research-oriented accreditation agency meaning AACBS always accepts online business schools that focus more on research than other stuff. Therefore, candidates should put published researches in the first place when they expect to be accredited by AACBS. The more researches are published, the more grants will be obtained.


Compared with AACBS, the accreditation process of ACBSP is less complicated. ACBSP is the abbreviation form of the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. ACBSP, established in 1988, has a much shorter history in the accreditation area compared with AACBS.

Unlike AACBS, ACBSP pays more attention on teaching and learning that is related to online business degrees. In general, community colleges and popular schools are eligible for the membership of ACBSP. Yet only bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees apply. Associate’s degrees are out of the list.


IACBE (International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education), founded in 1997, is another accreditation agency in business field. Like ACBSP, IACBE is not research-oriented, either.

All in all, when you choose an online school, you should first realize whether the college you have chosen is accredited by one of the six regional accreditation agencies. If you opt for an online business school, it is advisable to select one accredited by a prestigious specialized accreditation agency such as the three agencies I mentioned above.

Selecting from the three agencies, you should first know your goal. If you prefer researching, the best bet should be AACBS. Suppose you are more interested in teaching or learning, you could choose ACBSP or IACBE, since they are similar to each other. Considering IACBE is not recognized by U.S. Department of Education, ACBSP seems a better choice in this case. The accreditation status will be shown on the university’s website, so you can check it out for yourself.

By the way, there is another accreditation form that you may have seen before – national accreditation. Some may ask what national accreditation is and what it is for. Please read on and I will explain it for you.

National accreditation aims at specific schools, such as career schools, trade schools, religious schools, distance education or technology programs. Thus, regional accreditation and national accreditation serve different purposes in line with various types of universities.

On the other hand, some similarities do exist between them. For instance, both of them are recognized by the United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. And like regional accreditation, national accreditation covers the entire college or university as well. Plus, you can get federal financial aid no matter your college is accredited regionally or nationally.

Now I believe that you have a clear picture of business accreditations, and can make a proper decision after reading my article.

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