Look Beyond Accreditation!


by John Mason  Principal ACS Distance Education www.acs.edu.au

It’s important to judge the credibility of education on the basis of a range of things: not just accreditation or recognition. Remember, accreditation only means that “minimum” standards are met!

Accreditation and recognition can indicate credibility; but any sort of accreditation or recognition whether from government, industry or elsewhere, will give the same indication (ie: that this institution has been judged credible by an independent body).

You should always look for other indicators as well though.

Consider such things as:

  • The credentials of teaching staff
  • The services offered (eg. How much access do you have to tutors)
  • Age and reputation of the institution
  • Duration of courses (Obviously short certificates cannot be as good as long ones, whether accredited or not)

There are many myths and assumptions that surround accreditation, and it really is important to keep things in perspective, and recognize facts such as the following.

1. Accreditation is a no more than a form of rubber stamping or endorsement by someone; and it’s value is only as good as the people who are endorsing it.

2. Accreditation systems don’t necessarily endorse everything about a course or institution. Some for example focus on endorsing how students are assessed; with little focus on actually how they are taught. Don’t assume they are endorsing what is important to you.

3. There are thousands if not tens of thousands of bodies that accredited & recognize education across the world.

4. Every government does it differently, and in most cases you can only accredit with a government if you physically are located in that state, or country.

5. Even the words accredit and recognize mean different things to different governments, different industries & different professional associations.

6. Often professional bodies don’t recognize certain government accredited courses & governments don’t recognize courses that professional bodies recognize.

7. Very few organizations even attempt to accredit or recognize across international borders.

In effect; anything you study will NOT be recognized and accredited by MOST governments, professional bodies and accrediting agencies.


When choosing a course, recognition or accreditation by someone is an advantage; but don’t forget this is only “one small piece of the puzzle”.


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