It’s important to attend an accredited online master’s psychology program. But why does accreditation matter so much?
Licensure requires it.
In most states, psychologists must be licensed. To become licensed, they must meet certain criteria, including scrutiny of their educational program. The required education element for licensing must be met by graduating from an accredited post-secondary institution.
Ensures it’s not a diploma mill.
There was a time when online education was fraught with uncertainty, as accreditation hadn’t yet caught up with the new format of distance education. And even today, there are some colleges that will try to slip under the radar and offer programs that don’t meet the standards of a high-quality education. To avoid this, always look for an active accreditation status.
Boosts employment prospects.
Accreditation sets a “floor” as to the level of training a professional should have and employers expect new hires to complete their education at an accredited school, even if not required by a certification or licensing body. Most job applicants will have graduated from an accredited school, so employers won’t even bother to look at the resumes of those who graduated from lesser institutions.
Required for further education.
While a master’s degree is a higher-level degree, it’s not the highest. Should someone want to further continue their education with a doctorate degree in psychology, they will only get credit for their prior education if it came from an accredited school. If they did not attend an accredited institution, this could mean that all their hard work must be completed again in order to obtain a degree in good standing before embarking on the doctoral program.
Required for school transfers.
Just as completing education at an accredited school is an eligibility requirement for a subsequent degree, it’s almost always a requirement for recognition of transfer credits. If students choose to change programs halfway through, they may have to start from scratch and all previous coursework will go to waste.
Get more financial aid.
Most forms of financial aid, especially federal grants and loans, require applicants to attend an accredited school. By not enrolling at an accredited school, there will be little to no financial assistance available for most master’s students, even through many private scholarships.
Read more about Financial Aid on the Best Financial Aid Guide.
Another reason to attend an accredited program is for its positive and strong reputation and it imparts to graduates. Since an accredited school provides a high-quality education, students can rest assured that its reputation will continue with them through their long career. However, graduates from a non-accredited school might be seen as academically or professionally dishonest – and that’s not a good way to start any career.