Regional Accreditation is the Stamp of Approval you Need
I've pointed out in a previous post that students searching for a college should avoid for-profit schools. Such colleges are focused on making money for their organizations and not necessarily helping students succeed.
Another type of school that you should avoid is one that does not possess regional accreditation. Regional accreditation is the gold standard by which an institution is judged for quality. Currently, there are seven regional accrediting commissions within the United States that provide a stamp of approval for postsecondary institutions within their territory.
Higher education institutions have voluntarily joined together by geographical region to set specific standards for how institutions organize curriculum, provide instruction, and assess student learning, among other issues. Each accredited institution is periodically evaluated by an outside team of peers facilitated by an accrediting commission to determine if the institution is meeting the published standards of the regional accreditor. I have had the privilege of serving as a peer evaluator for The Commission on Northwest Colleges and Universities, and I can confirm that the evaluation process is both rigorous and thorough in scope.
It's extremely important to attend a school that is regionally accredited. If you attend a school that is not regionally accredited, you could find it difficult to transfer any of your coursework to another school. Moreover, you may also have difficulty in the hiring process. Many employers will only accept education credentials from accredited institutions. As an example, in my work as the Dean of Instruction at Linn-Benton Community College, I have had the unfortunate task of denying employment to potential instructors because they graduated from unaccredited institutions. Be sure to do some research on the higher education institutions you are considering in order to be sure they are regionally accredited.