What Does It Mean For A High School To Be Accredited?
Posted on September 13 2023
How do you know a high school you’re considering is legitimate? One of the best ways you can judge the quality of the education you will receive is checking if an institution is accredited.
What does it mean when a high school is accredited? It means the school went through a review process by an accrediting organization that judges every aspect of the education that is offered. By meeting the standards established by a third-party organization, a high school earns its accreditation.
When you enroll in an accredited high school, you are making the choice to earn credits or a diploma that will help you succeed in whatever you choose to do after you graduate.
How high schools become accredited
In the United States, the federal government doesn’t have national accreditation standards for high schools. These standards are set at the state level, and they can vary significantly from state to state.
Even though states establish rules about high school accreditation, state governments do not have organizations that grant this certification. The agencies that operate in this country are independent, non-governmental bodies.
To become accredited, a high school must follow the process established by an accrediting organization. These organizations will look at the curriculum, teachers, and other aspects of the education offered to determine if a school is offering a quality education to its students.
For example, an accrediting agency might look at the learning environment the school has created, the culture the school has created for both students and staff, how the school measures student progress, and a large number of other factors. Every aspect of the school is under scrutiny during the accreditation process.
What does it mean when a high school is accredited? By receiving accreditation, the school demonstrates it is offering educational programs in line with the quality standards that the organization has established.
Additionally, accreditation is not a one-time certification. Schools will be subject to repeated review to make sure it is maintaining a high standard of quality for its students. This guarantees a school cannot start offering an education that is not up to the standards of its accreditation after it is certified. It must uphold the standards it originally demonstrated.
The importance of accreditation
When you’re looking at different options for high schools, making sure you are earning your diploma from an accredited school can be very important depending on what you plan to do after graduation.
If you’re considering going to college, having an accredited high school diploma may be part of a college’s admission requirements. Not having a diploma from an institution with this certification may limit your college options.
Trade schools and each branch of the U.S. military may also have requirements that mean having an accredited high school diploma may be the best move for applicants.
Attending an institution that has received its accreditation may also open the door to other opportunities. If a situation arises where you want to transfer to a different high school, a student at an accredited school may have an easier time transferring the credits they’ve earned.
Some scholarships and student loans may also require students to have earned a diploma from an accredited school.
What happens if the high school diploma I earn is not accredited?
If your high school diploma is not accredited, you may face problems being accepted into college or even getting the job you want. Some employers prefer the high school diploma their employees earn to be from an accredited institution. A diploma from an unaccredited school can close the door on some opportunities that may otherwise be available to you, so it’s always best to do research into the status of any online institution you’re considering.
The American Academy, an accredited online high school
If you’re in the process of researching your options for online high schools, The American Academy is one option. The American Academy is accredited by Cognia, formerly known as AdvancEd.
We undergo an ongoing process to maintain this accreditation, conducting periodic reviews with our Cognia accreditation team.
When you take classes at The American Academy, our regional accreditation with Cognia means the credits or diploma you earn at The American Academy will be recognized (at their discretion and according to their admission policies) by schools, colleges and universities, employers, and the U.S. military.