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Is There Special Accreditation for Schools with an Online Psychology Program?

Are you contemplating earning your degree in psychology online? If the traditional degree programs are not flexible enough for you to take care of all of your obligations, the only other alternative is to study psychology online. While distance education degree programs have come a long way in the recent years, many prospective students who are yet to experience a distance education program are skeptical of the efficiency and quality of an online program. This is why it is so important to set aside time before you apply for a college so that you can identify which online programs are perceived just as highly as traditional on-campus programs. One way to identify all of the top contending programs that are available online is to locate those that have been accredited. Read on, and learn more about accreditation for online psychology degree programs.

Distinguishing Between National and Programmatic Accreditation

There is a major difference between a national and a programmatic accreditation, and understanding how the two differ can help you locate the best online psychology degree program. A national accreditation is granted by a body or third-party educational authority that oversees specific types of schools. If you would like to earn your degree online, you would focus on looking up the national accreditation status of universities who specialize in online programs.

Currently, the Distance Education and Training Council operates as a national accreditor of distance education institutions. This council grants voluntary accreditation membership to schools that apply and meet the standards of the council. All schools who participate as members must be re-evaluated on a regular basis to maintain accreditation. Choosing a psychology program at a nationally-accredited school will ensure that the school strives to offer high-quality academic programs and fulfills ethical business practice requirements. Programs accredited nationally are not the same as those accredited by a specialized body.

What is a Specialized Accreditation?

While a national accreditation is a good credential to look for, when you are studying psychology online it is in your best interest to choose a program that has earned a specialized or programmatic accreditation. Bodies that grant programmatic accreditation is the field of psychology make accreditation standards that pertain specifically to graduate or doctoral level degree programs within the discipline and not just for specific types of schools. Because psychology is such a large discipline, there are many different accreditation authorities that evaluate programs on a specialized level.

One of the most reliable bodies to reference when you are checking the reputation of an online degree program is the American Psychological Association. This association oversees the accreditation process of doctoral programs, but currently does not accredit any online programs. While the APA does not have a list of online programs to choose from, you can find accreditation bodies by logging into the Council for Higher Education database. This database will list recognized accreditors within the field of psychology. Some programs are offered by schools that have online and traditional programs, and others are entirely online.

Whenever you are studying psychology to become a licensed professional, it is important to verify that your degree will fulfill the requirements of the licensing board. Check the requirements, look for accreditation credentials, and select a program that is well-known.

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