Why Accreditation Is a Must for Your Online Master’s in Education

There are many factors to consider when choosing a degree program for your master’s in education. Perhaps the most important is accreditation. Unaccredited or illegitimately accredited programs could cost students money without providing any real benefit.

Students who complete an accredited program like those offered by Youngstown State University (YSU), can be confident about the value and quality of their master’s degree because YSU’s online degree programs in education are backed by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

Benefits of an Accredited Graduate Program

Earning your graduate degree from an accredited program is the safest way to ensure that your time and tuition dollars will benefit you professionally. CAEP states that “when an institution or specialized program is accredited, it has demonstrated that it meets standards set by organizations representing the academic community, professionals, and other stakeholders.”

In the world of education, accreditation provides assurance that educator preparation programs meet quality standards. Graduates of accredited programs receive the preparation needed to be successful in the classroom. They can be certain that school districts, professional organizations and institutions of higher education will recognize the legitimacy of their degrees.

Dangers of Unaccredited Programs

Seeking a master’s degree in education from an unaccredited program or diploma mill can be disastrous. Unaccredited programs may also leave graduates with degrees that are not recognized by school districts, employers or other institutions of higher education, increasing the difficulty of seeking employment, transferring to another school, or potentially pursuing a doctoral degree.

Enrolling in an unaccredited, or questionably accredited, graduate education program may easily result in students wasting their time, effort and money on a degree that has little real value.

Accreditation Warning Signs

With so many options for earning graduate degrees online, it becomes challenging to identify the legitimate options. According to the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, here are some warning signs that the institution you are considering has earned accreditation through sketchy means:

  • Does the accreditation-granting operation allow accredited status to be purchased?
  • Are few if any standards for quality published by the operation?
  • Is a very short period of time required to achieve accredited status?
  • Is “permanent” accreditation granted without any requirement for subsequent periodic review, either by an external body or by the organization itself?

Should the answer to any of these questions be “yes,” it may be wise to seek additional information before enrolling in that program. The U.S. Department of Education maintains a list of accredited institutions and recognized accrediting agencies that can help you make a more informed decision.

If you are looking to maximize your potential as an educator, you have many online master’s programs to choose from. Youngstown State University offers affordable, accelerated online programs that hold legitimate accreditation. Experienced faculty members teach students to think critically, placing great emphasis on personalized instruction and support. Students can be sure they are receiving a dynamic educational experience capable of transforming their professional outlook.

Learn more about YSU’s online Education programs.


Council for Higher Education Accreditation

Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation: What Is Accreditation?

U.S. Department of Education: Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs

U.S. Department of Education: Diploma Mills and Accreditation

Related Articles

Have a question or concern about this article? Please contact us.
YSU Skyline Silhouette