There are two types of accreditation, Institutional and Specialized or Programmatic Accreditation. Each of these types has a distinct definition of eligibility, criteria for accreditation, and operating procedures.

Accreditation, depending on the type, ensures that either whole institutions of higher education or specific academic programs achieve and maintain a level of performance, integrity, and quality that entitles them to the confidence of the educational community and public they serve. In the United States, this recognition is extended primarily through non-governmental, voluntary, institutional or professional accreditation agencies. These agencies establish criteria for accreditation, arrange site visits, evaluate institutions or professional programs seeking accreditation, and publicly designate those that meet the criteria.

Although accreditation is basically a private, voluntary process, accrediting decisions are used as a consideration in many formal actions by governmental funding agencies, scholarship commissions, foundations, employers, counselors, and potential students. Accrediting bodies have come to be viewed as quasi-public entities with important responsibilities to the many groups who interact with the educational community. Nevertheless, all institutions or academic programs have undertaken accreditation activities primarily to ensure that the students attending an institution or the members of the profession have received the highest level of educational preparation possible.

For more information, choose the type of accreditation listed below or if there are additional questions please send them to AAL Accreditation.