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Vocational Schools Database

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Vocational school accreditation can make or break a graduate's prospects for employment or to transfer credits to another school. Check accreditation of all vocational schools before you apply.

Accreditation: What it is and Why It Matters to You

By Kay Easton
RWM Columnist
Apr 19, 2011

If you've been looking at obtaining a vocational education, you might wonder what all of the "accreditation" fuss is about. Actually, it is a pretty big deal. Accreditation ensures that the education provided by a postsecondary institution meets certain quality standards. All educational institutions, including vocational schools, are required to undergo the accreditation process on a regular basis, so they can't just let their standards slide or they could lose accreditation.

Who is responsible for accreditation?

Regional or national private education associations develop accreditation criteria and conduct peer assessments of educational institutions to ensure that accreditation quality standards are being met. The U.S. Department of Education publishes a list of associations that it recognizes as authorities on accreditation. Accrediting agencies must also pass a review by the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity.

The following types of agencies provide accreditation:

What does accreditation mean to me?

In addition to being eligible for Title IV financial aid, there are other advantages to attending a vocational school that is accredited:

How can I make sure that my vocational school is accredited?

The caveat from the Department is that although it tries to ensure that the published list is up-to-date, it makes no guarantees. If you cannot find accrediting agency information on the Department's site, contact vocational schools directly and ask if they are accredited and what the name of their accrediting agency is. Then contact the agency directly. If the school cannot provide accreditation information or the accrediting agency doesn't have information that the school is accredited, you should look elsewhere for your vocational education. There are too many excellent vocational schools that are accredited to take a chance on one that isn't.