Ensuring the Quality of Your Education: The Basics of College Accreditation

A college education is the foundation of a good resume. By earning a degree you show you have a solid foundation in your career area, and that you have the necessary commitment and drive to complete a degree program. Earning the right degree from the right college or university is an important first step in your career. And ensuring that your graphic design school of choice is accredited is just as important.

Earning a Degree from an Accredited College or University

A college or university is considered "accredited" if it has been evaluated and approved by an accrediting institution. These federally approved institutions evaluate schools based on curriculum, degree requirements, and educational theories to determine the level of the education being provided. This process is a U.S.-based process, and helps ensure the quality of the degree students earn from schools with both campus and online degree programs.

In the United States, accreditation is the process of reviewing various higher education institutions and programs in order to certify that a school is providing quality education.

Attending an accredited graphic design school has many benefits, including:

  • The quality of your graphic design education
  • The availability of federal grants and loans
  • The evidence of an accredited degree to show future employers
  • The likelihood that your credits transfer if you switch graphic design schools

The Accreditation Process for Graphic Design Schools

All U.S. colleges and universities that seek accreditation, including graphic design schools, undergo the same accreditation process. There is a specific list of agencies and institutions that are approved by the government to provide accreditation. This accreditation allows the school to state that it is accredited, helping current and prospective students feel assured that they will receive a high quality education.

These groups are recognized by either the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), the U.S. Department of Education, or by both.

The Importance of Attending an Accredited Graphic Design School

When choosing the best grahpic design school for you, you want to be able to focus on any type of design specialty without concern for the quality of education. Knowing that the school is accredited helps relieve this pressure, allowing you to focus on the type of design courses and career programs the school offers. All accredited schools have been recognized as providers of quality education.

Your Graphic Design School Search Checklist

As you search for the graphic design school of your choice, consider these questions:

  • Is the school accredited?
  • What institution accredited the school, and how may I contact them if I want more information?
  • Does this graphic design school have the courses I'm looking to take, and are they all accredited?
  • Are the credits I will earn at the graphic design school transferable?
  • Will the type of accreditation matter to future employers? (For instance, some employers prefer schools to be certified by a particular institution or accrediting agency).

The Best First Step toward a Career in Graphic Design

Employers look for qualified candidates, and your education in graphic design is the best first step toward your first job. Attending graphic design school also helps you establish a good network of colleagues and professors, to learn and benefit from throughout your career. Choosing the right school is important, and making sure this school is accredited is an important part of this step. Use the graphic design school directory on this site to help find the best graphic design school for you.

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The Art Institute of Washington
21000 Atlantic Blvd,
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Westwood College
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Boston University Center for Digital Imaging Arts
1055 Thomas Jefferson Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20007
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