Category: Future Students

What Accreditation Means for Students

Why Accreditation Is a Must-Have When Choosing a Seminary

Is it important to you that your doctor be licensed to practice medicine? Is it important to you that your lawyer has gone through a rigorous process to be able to practice law? Is it important that your favorite restaurant has a periodic health inspection?

While accreditation for an institution of higher education is not exactly the same as those examples, the concept is similar.

What Is Accreditation?

Accreditors are outside agencies or regional bodies that set standard criteria and conduct peer evaluations in order to assess the quality of education being offered by schools.

Schools can operate without accreditation, and many do, but students learning in a non-accredited institution may not have the same level of confidence as students learning in an accredited school.

Prospective students should always ask if the school they are considering is accredited. If it is, the student can be sure that the accreditor has thoroughly examined the school’s operations to ensure that it is serving the student and providing the best education possible. Accreditors look at things like ethics, mission, financial practices, evaluation, learning outcomes, truth in advertising, faculty credentials, and much more.

One accrediting agency, the Higher Learning Commission, offers this explanation: “Accreditation provides current and potential students assurance that they are receiving a quality education which will be recognized as such by potential employers or licensing boards as well as by other colleges or universities in case of student transfers or pursuit of a higher degree.”

Should I Consider a School That Is Not Accredited?

If the school is not accredited, does that mean it is bad or that you shouldn’t attend? No. Students may receive an excellent education at an unaccredited school. But we would suggest that you ask a lot of questions before you enroll and pay. Ask about transfer of credits to another school. Oftentimes, credits from an unaccredited school do not transfer to an accredited one. Sometimes degrees earned from an unaccredited school aren’t recognized by employers, state license boards, denominations, or accredited schools.

Central Seminary Is Proud to Be Accredited by the HLC and ATS

Central is proudly accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the Association of Theological Schools.

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is an independent corporation that was founded in 1895 as one of six regional accreditors in the United States. HLC accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in the United States. HLC is an institutional accreditor, accrediting the institution as a whole. HLC is a private not-for-profit company that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to act on its behalf as an institutional accrediting agency.

The Association of Theological Schools (ATS) is the nation’s leading accreditor for more than 270 graduate schools of theology in the United States and Canada. According to the ATS website, “While [their member schools] differ from one another in deep and significant ways, through their membership in ATS, they demonstrate a commitment to shared values about what constitutes good theological education.

More Reasons to Choose Central Seminary

Because of its dual accreditation, you can trust the education offered by Central Seminary. You can be confident that our school adheres to the highest expectations of two nationally recognized accrediting agencies. Let us know if you have questions about the standards set by HLC and ATS and how Central meets and often exceeds those standards!

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